Families rebuild homes, one year after deadly tornado

Families rebuild homes, one year after deadly Cumberland County tornado

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"I built that basement just because of that. For her to die in, it's hard to think about," Harold Jones said. "I built that basement just because of that. For her to die in, it's hard to think about," Harold Jones said.
The Jones. The Jones.
Nearly a hundred homes were damaged or destroyed in the EF2 tornado. Nearly a hundred homes were damaged or destroyed in the EF2 tornado.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

CROSSVILLE (WATE) - This week marks the one year anniversary of deadly tornadoes that struck Cumberland County.

The EF2 tornado killed two people when it ravaged homes along Highway 127.

Where the Jones' two-story home stood one year ago, today there are just pieces of foundation and the flowers planted by Carolyn Jones.

She was killed when the tornado destroyed her home. Her husband, Harold, remembers the day as if it was yesterday.

"Not a sound, no leaves blowing on the trees or anything. I hollered run as fast as you can, go to the basement. It was 4:17," recalled tornado victim Harold Jones.

Jones wasn't able to make it to the basement, but that ended up saving his life.

"I built that basement just because of that. For her to die in, it's hard to think about," he said.

Married 52 years, Carolyn and Harold were just feet from each other, buried in the rubble, when she  died

"I couldn't have saved her if I tried," he said.

A year later, the Howe family is also working to rebuild their lives.

"How blessed we are to be here because it could had been a totally different outcome. We might not be here," tornado survivor Bunny Howe explained.

Just 500 feet from their home, two people were killed, and look back at the images is difficult.

"It's hard. It's very hard. Because sometimes you'll have a flashback. You look at it and then you go to bed and if the wind starts blowing, I'm up. I'm going to go see," Howe said, describing the year after the tornado.

The images after the EF2 tornado show the Howe family garage torn apart, cars thrown about, a semi truck crushed and their house with a giant tree through the living room.

"The sound of it coming through the family room, the sound of the porch being ripped off, those are sounds you'll never forget," Howe said.

Harold Jones spent months in surgery and is still healing today.

"It beat me up on the wall, and all my ribs were broken two or more times," Jones said.

And that's where Susan came in. Susan and Harold Jones were married last December. Together they are trying to rebuild, including bringing some of Carolyn to their new home.

"My wife loved flowers and she had one there that I couldn't bring called Sweet Willie and that's like our grandson who's helping me do things I can't do, and that's there because she planted it and I want to get that here," he said. "I think it's honoring her, taking care of them the best I can."

"Everything is not going to go right back to normal," Bunny Howe admits. "In the back of your mind you're always going to think about it."

Another woman, Lisa Evans, was killed in that same tornado.

Nearly a hundred homes were damaged or destroyed.

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