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'It came with a vengeance and left that quick.' Storm cleanup in Smyrna

Storm damage
Posted at 6:09 PM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 21:28:43-04

SMYRNA, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nearly two dozen homes were damaged in a Smyrna neighborhood from what the National Weather Service says was an EF1 tornado.

Mike Schela said, "It came with a vengeance and left that quick."

In Smyrna, Mike didn't expect to see a 60-foot tree in his pool after the storms. Schela said, "Today brings a whole different perspective on this. Neighbors got it bad, folks over there got it bad, so I guess really thank God we were really lucky."

In the Clarkston Square neighborhood, 22 homes were damaged, and 2 of them were condemned according to the city spokesperson. "It’s amazing what these things can do, hit us, and then go down the street, and there’s nothing," Schela said.

Crews responded to the area to clean up trees, patch roofs, and assess structural issues. According to neighbor Nikki Sasser, they had about 30 seconds to get to a safe place after getting the tornado warning alert on her phone.

Sasser said, "And by the time we got the door shut and everything, it was hitting, and the house was shaking." Brandon Sasser is a firefighter in Smyrna. He's responded to many emergencies, but never one at his own home. Fortunately, he was off work and able to protect his family. Sasser said, "To be with them and keep them calm."

The family’s camper flipped over in the wind. "We were supposed to leave tomorrow to go camping for spring break, but it's all good," Sasser said.

On the bright side, the Sasser family is thankful that no one in their community was hurt or killed. "You can replace property, but it’s hard to replace a life," Sasser said.

Storm surveyors are assessing the damage to determine if it was a tornado or straight-line winds. The American Red Cross is assisting the two families whose homes are unlivable.