Repairs begin for Hattiesburg home destroyed by tornado

Repairs begin for Hattiesburg home destroyed by tornado
Home repairs begin thanks to funds. Photo credit WDAM.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Sandra Baker's home in Hattiesburg was destroyed during the Jan. 21 tornado. This month, volunteers helped using money raised by the February Pine Belt Strong telethon.

The home was nearly destroyed beyond repair. The roof was blown off, the windows were shattered and all of the furniture was ruined. The Baker family did what they had to do to survive.

"I told my husband that it sounded like a train. Me and my brother-in-law hid in the closet. The door slammed before my husband could make it to the closet, so he had to crouch in the corner," Baker said.

Baker's husband was OK, but the rest of the family was not prepared for what they saw when they opened the closet door.

"The roof was gone. It was raining inside of the house and we couldn't get out," Baker said. "We hear this person outside the house asking if anyone was inside. He kicked down the door, but to this day I still don't know who it was."

When the Baker family heard the sirens again, they joined another family across the street inside the Dollar General. That's where they hid until police arrived.

"They checked to see how many people were inside, and asked if we were okay," Baker said.

Baker's journey took a turn for the best last Saturday on the three-month anniversary of the storm. Volunteers from Trinity Episcopal Church helped repair the roof and remove debris from the building.

"My husband and I were excited. People coming in to do volunteer work have the heart of gold. I'm just at a loss for words," Baker said.

According to Baker, the repairs are expected to be finished in six months, and volunteers will be back during the weekend to help out.