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STEPHENVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) – As the skies darkened over Stephenville Tuesday, it could have been a scene from the Wizard of Oz: with ‘Dixie Mae’ starring, instead of Toto.
“It was a rainy morning—and then when I heard the noise, I knew something wasn’t right,” said Tuesday Conway.
Conway was taking Dixie Mae for a walk when suddenly the tornado was right on top of her.
“It scared me,” said Conway, “so, I just kind of ducked and didn’t look at it because I didn’t want to freak out any more than I was.”
Of course, ‘freaking out’ is allowed when all around tree limbs and pool chairs are turning into missiles.
“One of them flew like 6 to 8 inches from me,” said Conway, “[It was] really dark, really windy.”
Conway had friends who lived at the Lillian I apartments, so she ducked into a breezeway to take cover. But, the complex took a beating, too.
“The walls and or ceilings could collapse at any time,” said Stephenville Fire Marshal Cody Derrick, “especially with all of the rain we’ve received over the past 24 hours.” Derrick has since condemned the building—saying it is too unsafe to rent. However, safety officials briefly escorted renters inside on Tuesday afternoon to grab what they could.
“I got both of our beds, our computer and laptops and printer and stuff like that,” said Courtney Kesler, a student at Tarleton State University. But, clothes and other electronics had to be left behind.
“That’s replaceable,” added roommate Monique Sawyer, “We’re not, so we’re okay with that… glad that everyone I know is okay.”
Stephenville officials said many of the apartment tenants are TSU students and the campus is on spring break this week. Many of the renters were vacationing this week and not at home when the tornado hit. Officials there call it a ‘lucky’ break—and there are a lot of them going around.
“I was blessed,” said Conway, “and I definitely had somebody watching over me because I was outside there and something definitely even worse could have happened.”
According to Derrick, a tenant in a top floor apartment sustained minor injuries; but, is expected to be okay.
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