EF2 tornado destroys McDuffie, Warren County homes

March 2, 2007

McDuffie County was hit hard by March 1's twister.

The National Weather Service says the path of destruction is a quarter mile wide in some spots, and it stretches out for about ten miles.

Home after home have trees either in them or on them.

We found a small wooden home just off the highway between I-20 and Thomson under some very big trees.

Lessie Vaughn lives there with her husband Jesse.

She showed us where the chimney used to be...it's just a pile of bricks now.

She was home alone when the storm hit.

"The power went out," she recalled. "I could hear it coming. All I had time to do was to run and jump in the bathtub. I planned on getting the dogs and cats, and getting a safe place, but I didn't have time. Just to get myself in there."

And once the lights went out, Lessie says things happened fast.

"Well, it was pitch black, and I couldn't see anything. All I could hear was the whole house shaking. It sounded like it was about to blow away. I stayed in there about three minutes, came out here and walked around with a lighter."

She could see enough to realize her home would never be the same.

Not far away in Warren County, we found a small side street lined with mobile homes. Somehow they all stayed tied down during the twister.

Not so for a group of RVs--they were tossed around like toys.

Bill Hixenbaugh says it was a close call: "So I got them on the floor, got the kids in the closet. Me, I'm standing up when it hits. It turned me around like a ball. It seemed like forever, but only lasted a few seconds. It jumped from house to house. Stayed in here like it didn't want to leave this area."

But it did leave, and Bill's nephew Dennis wasn't so lucky. His mobile home was blown off its foundation and ripped to bits. There's nothing left.

Fortunately, Dennis wasn't home when the storm hit. There would have been no safe place for him to hide.


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