Hardin County man lucky to be alive after surviving tornado - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Hardin County man lucky to be alive after surviving tornado

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Brandon Hicks Brandon Hicks
Damaged home of Brandon Hicks' grandparents Damaged home of Brandon Hicks' grandparents
Matt Chick Matt Chick
Tonya Bland Tonya Bland
Remains of hail stones collected by Tonya Bland Remains of hail stones collected by Tonya Bland

ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (WAVE) - During the height of the storms that ripped through Hardin County on Wednesday, several drivers had to pull off of Dixie Highway to seek shelter from the torrential rains and golf ball sized hail. Matt Chick was one driver who took refuge at an old gas station at the 'Four Corners' off Hwy 62.

"All of a sudden it just came hailing, I would say marble to golf ball size hail. It was hitting us hard so we just took cover," said Chick.

Tonya Bland also experienced nature's wrath in the form of huge hail balls falling at her house.

"We found a bunch under the trees and stuff and luckily my car was in the right spot and the house sheltered it and the trees, but there were dents in my Dad's car but they fortunately weren't too bad."

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case just a few miles up the road on Dixie Highway just south of Elizabethtown. As the tornadoes ripped through that part of Hardin County in the 3000 block of Dixie Highway, one side of the street sustained almost no damage. Just a few downed trees and roofs missing shingles. But on the other side of the street one house was almost destroyed.

LeAnn Thomas' parents own the home and they're currently out of town in Florida. Thomas said neighbors called her to let her know that the suspected tornado ripped almost all the roof off her parent's home. Thomas' son, Brandon Hicks, was watching the house at the time.

"Well I had been aware of the storm warnings and was upstairs getting ready to head to the basement and when it hit, it just sounded like a freight train and I started to run to the basement."

Brandon made it to the basement just in time as the winds began to tear the roof off overhead and pelted him with insulation. He escaped without being hurt.

Brandon and others were lucky to escape without a scratch. Unfortunately, his grandparent's home wasn't as lucky.  But with the help of insurance and good neighbors helping to put tarps over the holes in the roof, they hope to put things back together, as good as new, soon.

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.

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