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Hallam, NE Tornado Photos

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I'm sure you'll go right to the photos, so go look at them and come back here to read.

My good friend of 10 years lives in Hallam, NE, about 20 miles south of me.

Because he is a resident of Hallam, the National Guard and State Patrol allowed me past the security checkpoint with Tom into the town with him to help him take photos and try to salvage items. Civilians were only allowed to walk in, no vehicles allowed. They kept the vulture-like media out of there, thank God, and let us alone to do what needed to be done.

The short version of the story is this:

Tom says the power went out and they went to the basement.

They considered hiding under the stairs, but dove into the concrete shower stall at the last moment.

He said it was about 90 seconds of the loudest noise you could ever imagine.

And then the house wasn't there, and they were left there in the shower stall in their t-shirts and underwear, in the dark, no shoes, no clothes, with rain, wind, and hail coming down on them.

Photo 0390 is the shower stall in the basement that they survived in. Unbelieveable.

They were found by two other neighbors in the dark and rain, and they left their house to take shelter in another basement until rescue workers found them.

Tom is currently living at our house.

They have nothing.

No shoes, no underwear, no medicine.

No keys, no phones, no papers, no credit cards, no identity.

No car to drive, no mail to collect.... they have literally the clothes on their back, and nothing more.

I took them to Wal Mart to buy things like toohbrushes and socks and shoes.

One person across the street from them died.

Personally, I don't see how anyone survived at all.

You can look at photos all day long, and see footage on TV, but it means nothing until you actually stand there in the midst of the destruction and smell the damp, water-soaked belongings. And hear the houses randomly dripping water and dropping pieces of tile, or an occasional board, and smell gasoline leaking from overturned cars, and hear the helicopters overhead. To see the word "Condemmed" placed on the front door of your friend's house.

To see it in the news is one thing.

To be there and bear witness to it is a humbling experience.

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http://www.journalstar.com/articles/200 ... 050007.txt

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Whoooaaa....... I'd say the shower saved their lives. No question.

I've been in two tornadoes in my life; one @ age 6 & one @ age 27. The 2nd one hit my house, & blew it up w/ me inside. I (kind of) know what your friend went through. I can still remember it in tiny detail.

"Scared" just doesn't do the emotion justice.

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If you revisit the "hallam1" photo, you'll see that his house is still standing, but displaced about 30 feet. Most of the other structures around him collapsed.

Now, go back and look closely at the shower stall photo. What *don't* you see? Anchor bolts in the block foundation. (this house was about 90 yrs old).

My theory is that the lack of anchor bolts allowed this house to simply slide laterally to the west on its floor joists instead of collapsing from the side-loading of the wind.

Is that a good thing? Heck, I don't know. It's just something to note.

Let's put it this way: All their salvaged items are currently inside my garage, and I can still park both vehicles in there.

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It all looks way too familiar to me. We've been hit 3 times in 5 years, after not being in the path of who-knows-how-many throughout my lifetime. They used to always go around us, not anymore. The last one demolished the house of my best friends' Dad while he crouched in a closet (less than 2 miles from my house). It picked up his boat and slammed it into the back wall of the house, then pushed it 40 feet down the wall (head-high off the ground) and around the corner. Amazing skid marks. [:-bigeyes]

Konrad, is insurance or Red Cross talking to your friend about some help yet?

Brian G.

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