Lee Co. family rides out storm in half-bath - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lee Co. family rides out storm in half-bath

April 16, 2007

Lee County- Parts of South Georgia are cleaning up Monday from weekend tornadoes. In Lee County, there's an estimated a half million dollars worth of damage in the western part of the county.

A woman along Highway 32 had to barricaded herself and four small children inside a small bathroom to stay safe as their home began collapsing around them. The Pierce family had been bowling earlier in the evening and had just returned to their Highway 32 home.

Ten-year-old Austin had brought two friends to the house and the boys were playing video games when their mother got a call from her family, warning them about bad weather on the way, little did they know that weather would trap them in a tiny bathroom for more than two hours.

Austin, his five year old brother Seth, and two 10-year-old friends, Dallas Butler and Blain Bosco spent Saturday evening doing what boys do, playing video games, no one realized the danger they were in.

"She said 'Come down stairs and just sit down, lay down there,' and we were watching a movie and she told us to go in the bathroom, and she looked out the door and then she came back running in the bathroom and then the lights cut out," said Austin Pierce.

Minutes later the back wall of the home was blown out, items in the room where the boys had been playing were sucked outside.

"Our ears started popping really bad, started hearing glass breaking and we just started to pray, we all prayed," said Brandi Pierce.

The five huddled in the Pierce's half bath, the family's only interior room.

"You could feel the wind coming up under the walls and the door and we were getting wet from the water," said Austin.

"The bottom of the bathroom floor we were in started to vibrate, it was shaking, actually in one part of it there was movement," said Pierce.

Brandi had thrown plenty of blankets and pillows into the room to shield the boys and struggled to keep the door shut.

"The door was shaking trying to come open, and I tried to hold onto that door with everything I had so it wouldn't blow open," said Pierce.

The bedroom door across from the bathroom was blown from its hinges, but in the end everyone was safe.

"I just wanted those kids safe, I made sure I was at the door so if the door flew open it was going to take me out first, those kids would be okay," said Pierce.

The amazing part of the story is the family's dog had recently given birth to ten black lab puppies, five boys and five girls. The six week old pups and their mother were in the garage. One wall of the garage was blown out, the garage door was folded like an accordion inside the garage, amazingly not one of the puppies was harmed.

Bush Animal Clinic has been gracious enough to put up and care for the mother dog and her pups while the family sorts out the mess.

Brandi Pierce and her family have only lived in the home for two years.

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