Cleaning up tornado damage in LaPorte

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This weekend's tornado left extensive damage in several Houston area communities including LaPorte where many residents were devastated and are left trying to clean up after the catastrophe.

“Thank you God,” smiles 66-year old Sandra Pursley, who has reason to be thankful.  She was standing just inside her bedroom window helping her husband out of bed when the tornado came storming straight through the glass, into their home and trapping them in their bedroom.

“We walked across glass barefoot.  We stood in front of the window with glass shooting everywhere.  So we went to the (bedroom) door to get out and the door wouldn't open.  The suction was too great.  So the only place to go was in the closet,” Pursley explains.

It seemed Mother Nature was after them.  Once in the closet a tree came crashing down on it.  A two by four shot through their bedroom ceiling and boards from the fence were flying into the still intact windows but stopping short of breaking through the glass.

”If any of those had come through the window where we were standing it would have impaled us just like it did my roof”.  No wonder the 66-year old was smiling in her backyard as she cleaned up from the tornado damage.

”We pretty much have a total loss in our kitchen and living room,” explains LaPorte resident Chris Smith who says he's thankful his family and neighbors are safe because property can be replaced but “It's also your home.  That's where you raise your children.  It's where you have your family get-togethers.  It's where you spend your time.  So it's heartbreaking when you see part of your house has been destroyed”. 

The tornado destroyed so much LaPorte ISD canceled school Monday.  Jennie Reid Elementary could actually be closed until Thursday.  Residents we spoke with say they have a lot of clean up ahead but neighbors are making the situation much easier to tolerate.

”A lot of great people just came out and helped us and didn't expect anything in return,” says Smith. 

“Words can't express my gratitude for my neighbors and I give praise to God for me being here today,” smiles Pursley.