Lufkin residents' property destroyed, spirits dampened, not broken

By Jena Johnson - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Several families are displaced after Wednesday night's tornado ripped through their neighborhood.

On Christmas Eve morning, just hours after a massive storm ripped through a Lufkin neighborhood, residents looked at their lives scattered across their front yard.

"You can find Christmas debris in the yards," said Evelyn Bogan, storm victim. "You can find Christmas presents in the yards and people are just homeless around here."

A car was picked up, landing where a house once stood. What's believed to be a small tornado leveled the home. Bogan said it is a Christmas miracle everyone is okay.

"We're all alive," said Bogan. "I have more joy than I have tears because we all alive you know. It's sad, but Christmas is not about the loss of everything, but things about the loss of everything, but things can be replaces, but lives can't be."

Down the street, James Johnson surveyed what's left. "This is crazy," said Johnson. "Just to think we aint got nothing. Nothing."

The sheer force of the storm caused the family's mobile home to flip. "I went to open the door and it slammed back and then our house went a rollin'," he said. Johnson said his washing machine rolled on him during the storm.

A few miles away, a large tree carved a hole through the roof of a house. Friends helped a family who won't be spending Christmas at home. "My little girl, she's three, and this would have been her first time at home to wake up and open presents and we can't get that again," said Amber Coodey, storm victim.

Power lines drape the streets. Crews worked relentlessly to restore order. "We can't leave until we get all the lines and stuff put up and they get all the trees out of the way," said Coodey.

As of Chistmas Eve, no serious injuries have been reported.

"I'm happy that all my neighbors are safe and that everyone is accounted for," said Bogan.

David Collier with Oncor said they now have about 500 customers without power.  That's down from about 2,500 overnight.  Collier said extra crews have been called it and they are busy replacing poles and power lines mainly in neighborhoods in east Lufkin.

Meanwhile, Consolidated Communications reports technicians are working quickly to restore telephone, Internet and TV service to customers in the Lufkin area, following last night's storm.  Official estimate between 500 – 1,000 customers are without service.

We'll have updates on the recovery all across the city of Lufkin here at and on KTRE's East Texas News

For the latest severe weather information and StormTracker Interactive Radar, visit the East Texas Weather Page. Also, tune in to the Good Morning East Texas, MidDay at 11:30, or the East Texas News at 5, 6, & 10 on KTRE-TV.

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