The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Tornado Outbreak 2011

August 25, 2011

Terror in T-Town: Local resident tells harrowing April 27 experience

(Continued)

Lacey had finished classes that Wednesday and headed to her cozy house on Forest Lake Drive.

“She had gone home after classes and lay down on the bed upstairs,” Laurie Cannon said. While Lacey and other students had heard warnings of severe weather, the sky looked fine. It hadn’t even rained. At one point, Lacey realized the wind was getting loud. She turned on the television to find the cable was not working. She had no idea what was headed her way — until she heard the sound of a train.

“There weren’t any train tracks in her area,” Laurie said.

That’s when something urged Lacey to run. She raced down the stairs as the roof of the home began tearing away.

“I wasn’t thinking, ‘When will this end?’ I was thinking, ‘When am I going to die?’” Lacey recalled.

She was trying to pull her yellow Labrador retriever, Mikey, into a closet under the stairs but the pressure kept the door firmly closed. Suddenly, a flying door struck Lacey in the face and she fell to the ground.

Mikey used his body to shield hers.

“My body was so numb from the adrenaline that when the door hit me, it never fazed me,” she said. “It wasn’t until I got outside that I realized I was bleeding. When I picked the phone up off the floor and it was connected to my dad, I was still stuck in my house.”

When the storm passed, a neighbor rushed into the rubble to find Lacey.

“My neighbor kicked the door in and, after I saw what was around me, the only thing I could say is, ‘Everything is gone,’ over and over again.” Lacey said. “I was in such a hysterical shock of what surrounded me that my only thoughts were, ‘When will I see my family next? Are they alive?’ I had no way to contact anyone and the thought of being alone at that point was panicking me to no end.”

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