Dougherty Co. man first to find neighbor after deadly tornado - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty Co. man first to find neighbor after deadly tornado

Paul Freeman, 82, died in Sunday's tornado. (Source: WALB) Paul Freeman, 82, died in Sunday's tornado. (Source: WALB)
Eddie Harrell had tears in his eyes as he told the story of finding Freeman. (Source: WALB) Eddie Harrell had tears in his eyes as he told the story of finding Freeman. (Source: WALB)
DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) -

Tuesday, a Dougherty County man recounted how he and a neighbor found one of the men killed in a tornado Sunday afternoon dead in his home.

Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler said Monday that Paul Freeman, 82, died Sunday.

Eddie Harrell had tears in his eyes as he told the story of searching for, and eventually finding, Freeman, his next-door neighbor.

Harrell and his family made it through Sunday's storm on Newcomb Drive in Dougherty County, but the worst had yet to come.

"I started trying to check on my neighbors, and it got kind of ugly at that point," he said.

Harrell knew that Freeman lived alone. "We couldn't leave him there not knowing if he was injured or hurting."

He left his home to go next door. 

"One of my neighbors across the street was there, and I asked have you checked on him. He said no he can't get to it," said Harrell.

Digging around in the rubble, Harrell joined that neighbor searching for Freeman.

"I don't even know who he was," Harrell said about the man helping him search for Freeman. "Everybody's just supporting each other so good."

Eventually, Harrell and that man were able to remove brick from what used to be a fireplace, and found Freeman.

"It had collapsed and taken the floor down and he was pinned between that and the ground."

Harrell, still struggling with what he found and the passing of his neighbor, thanked everyone who had helped, including volunteers from Houston County who helped clear a pathway so officials could recover Freeman's body.

"That's the kind of people that have been reaching out," he said. "I don't know who these people were. They're not even from here and obviously they shut down a business or neglected a business to come down here and it's just awesome. It's just amazing."

Fowler has also confirmed three other deaths from Sunday's storm. All three were found in the Paradise Village mobile home park on Holly Drive.

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