Ore City man braves powerlines to save family during tornado

Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 4:09 PM CDT
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ORE CITY, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas man put his life in danger trying to get storm victims out of a frightening situation.

It happened in Lake O’ the Pines on the night of the storm at a residence on Nash Farm Road just off FM-729 in Marion county, where one man would not be deterred by a downed power line.

During Mondays storm, the Spearman family escaped from their home after it was hit by tornado winds.

“The ceiling and the roof began to fall all around us. I told my daughter we got to get out of here. My daughter got the children out, and I got my husband out. And we ended up sitting in the car like three hours,” said Mary Spearman.

They found themselves trapped in another way.

The power poles had been knocked over and the power lines were draped on the ground at the driveway. It was their only way out.

“Volunteer firefighters came and said they couldn’t get us out because of the power lines,” Mary said.

Suddenly, a truck appeared on their road.

“I cleared Nash Road and Old Coffee Road and a couple of others. I saw headlights and taillights of a vehicle. A husband and wife, daughter and grandkids were trapped in the driveway; they weren’t able to get out,” said neighbor Matt Yates.

Matt would make a decision few of us will ever make.

“The only way out for them was to cross that power line. So I drove over it first. If there was anything going to happen, it would happen to one person and not six people,” Matt said.

“He drove over the power lines. He said, ‘If something happens, it will happen to me and not your children,” Mary said.

Matt got to the family and then cleared a path for them to drive away to safety.

“You stop and help your neighbor. You do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do,” Matt said.

Mary will never forget.

“It took nerve for him to risk his life for us,” she said.

“You do what you got to do. It’s what we’re supposed to do as neighbors,” Matt said.

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