Family inside: Worth Co. man's house pulled off foundation

Richard Kirkland (Source: WALB)
Richard Kirkland (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)

WORTH CO., GA (WALB) - In an incredible story of survival in Worth County, a man says the Sunday tornado actually picked his home up off its foundation, sending it flying several feet.

He, his girlfriend, and their pets, came away without a scratch.  Richard Kirkland called what happened that Sunday afternoon a "ride..." one that he thought he would not survive.  And after looking at the damage to his home, it's hard to believe he did.

"I ran in the bathroom. Got them all huddled up. Told them to hold on. Within 30 seconds, I heard the freight train," said Kirkland.

Kirkland, and his girlfriend Tracy hid in a center bathroom Sunday afternoon, grabbing each other for dear life.

"It lifted the house and a thousand things went through my mind. I said, 'We're flying and we're going to land in a field somewhere," said Kirkland.

But they landed just feet from where they were picked up.

"Here's the foundation where the house was. The block walls around. The roof structure over us is still intact," said Kirkland.

In just 30 seconds the tornado had done its damage, but had spared their lives.

"My son and I built that house in five months time. We put extra effort into everything we did. I said, 'I want to build a house that I can live in the rest of my life.' It took five months to build it and 30 seconds to destroy it," said Kirkland.

Kirkland said his dog Bailey hasn't left his side since the storm. He walks with him around his property while neighbors and volunteers help to demolish what's left.

But Kirkland says he will rebuild.

"It's just hard to grasp to understand why. But I know I was spared, you know," said Kirkland.

In the moments after the tornado passed, he said once he knew he and his girlfriend were OK, his first thought was that he hoped his neighbors were alright, too.

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