By Jack Fink


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BRIDGEPORT(CBS11) – Christina and Pablo Lopez are so thankful to be alive — after a tornado south of Bridgeport shredded their manufactured home and four others in its path along FM 920 Tuesday night.

Mrs. Lopez says, “It shocked us at first, we just broke down, we couldn’t believe it.”

Wise County Judge J.D. Clark says in all, the EF-1 tornado either destroyed or significantly damaged 20 homes in this area.

Without any warning sirens, the couple say they knew moments before the twister hit, it was time to get out of their home. “It said Boonville which is six miles from here, we kind of panicked,” said Christina Lopez.

So they got into their pick-up truck.

But when they arrived at their gate, they realized it was slammed shut. There was no opening it. They couldn’t leave their property, so they decided to drive back up near the trees and ride it out.

Mr. Lopez says, “That truck saved our lives.”

His wife agrees.  “The wind lifted us in that truck. I mean it was very, very scary,” says Christina Lopez. “Very emotional, too.”

They’re convinced the large trees somehow kept the twister from lifting their truck further, and possibly tossing it with them still inside.

As they try to find important keepsakes and photos, Mrs. Lopez says there can only be one explanation why no one died or received serious injuries.

“We really had God looking over us. There was no way we would have survived in that mobile home.”

Near downtown Bridgeport, Mary Darilek is still recovering from another danger Tuesday night.
Rapidly rising water from an overflowing Turkey Creek invaded her property, then her house.
She called 911, and had to be rescued by two police officers who escorted her to safety.

Darilek says, “I kept telling the police I’m scared, I’m scared, and I was scared because we had to wade through deep water. Once we got over the wall, there was a heavy, heavy current because the water was so high.”

She says the house she just moved into last November is now a muddy mess.  Darilek says she has no flood insurance, and doesn’t know what she will do now.

Like Darilek and the Lopez family, many others in and around Bridgeport are trying to figure out what they’ll do next.

They say the massive clean-up effort is just beginning.

Judge Clark says a state debris removal team is headed to Wise County.

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