Coffee Co. residents focus on clean-up after weekend storm

Coffee Co. residents cleaning up after storm

DOUGLAS, Ga. (WALB) - Clean-up in Coffee County continued Monday after more than 100 homes were damaged Saturday night, according to emergency management.

The National Weather Service said an EF-2 tornado hit the area.

One family said that they were devastated.

“We stayed with our parents last night. They’re getting us money or either a hotel until this is fixed. It’s looking like a six-month to a year project. Maybe even longer,” said John Deems, whose home was damaged.

The Deems family has lived in Douglas for a while now. They said they were on their way to their son’s baseball game in Atlanta when they got the news that their home had been ruined. They said they’re thankful they weren’t home when it happened.

“For us to be on the road and be outside the storm and nobody hurt. For something like this to come through this whole neighborhood and nobody get hurt, I feel like God has his hand in it,” said Deems.

Another homeowner experienced the same loss. She said that she was on her way back home and noticed a few signs.

“Coming in from Walmart, everything was fine and I noticed that the time had blinked so I changed it to 8:55, and within 10 to 15 minutes I was talking to my husband and the phone went out,” said Rena Ritchie, who also had home damage.

Ritchie said she was in the home when it happened and quickly went to cover herself. Her home has stood in this community since the 1980s. She says her home isn’t repairable.

“Jumped on the floor and covered myself up and finally got to my closet and stayed in there for maybe six, seven minutes. Got out and was like wow,” explained Ritchie. “Sheetrock was hanging from the ceilings, there was cracks in there. I knew the house had moved because I was angled. Looked outside my camper was behind me in the neighbor’s yard. It was gone completely. It was still raining bad, I was just trying to call a friend of mine and she came and got me about an hour later. It was awful.”

Ritchie said she didn’t realize how bad the damage was until the next morning.

The families are still speaking with their insurance companies to figure out what’s next.

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