CLEBURNE, Texas - Living in “Tornado Alley,” 77-year-old Bill Jones has heard the blare of civil defense warning sirens more times than he can count. But on Wednesday night it was the mighty oak trees in his yard that finally persuaded him to take cover.
“They were swirling every which way,” Jones said of the 40-year-old trees. “We knew it was pretty serious the way the wind was blowing.”
Jones, his wife, Nadine, and their daughter and son-in-law hurried into an interior hallway, slamming a door shut in the nick of time.
“We saw the chimney come crashing down through the ceiling,” Jones said.
For a harrowing 20 minutes, they hunkered down in the 3-by-5-foot space where family photos on the wall kept watch over them.
“My wife was praying pretty loud,” Jones said. “We were all scared.”
Outside the hallway, their home of 41 years was being butchered by what many residents and storm spotters described as a milewide twister.
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