Raleigh family recovers from tornado, hurricane, fire

Juan Rodriguez, his wife and their baby have weathered their share of hardship this year.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Six months ago, the Stony Brook community in Raleigh was among the capital city's hardest hit areas when a cluster of tornadoes roared through town. Four children died in the mobile home park off Brentwood Road, and more than half of the homes saw some damage.

Juan Rodriguez and his wife were among those working to repair their home as the summer months wore on.

Then Hurricane Irene brought high winds again to the Triangle. A limb from a tree beside the Rodriguezes' house came crashing through the roof.

Rodriguez and his wife welcomed the arrival of a son, a ray of hope amid the hardship, but then came another blow.

Rodriguez was repainting his home when a faulty heating systems sparked a fire.

"I went and got that hose and started to throw water," he said, "but it started to grow more and more, so I went inside to get my wife out."

With the help of Centro International de Raleigh, Rodriguez and his family are rebuilding, again.

Al Magnacci, a Centro volunteer, said, "He was in the midst of painting the trailer when the baby came, and then the fire came, and it messed his trailer up. I gave him more paint, and he painted it again. You can see it looks pretty good."

The Rodriguezes have no insurance, and the smoke damage forced them out of their trailer.

They are relying on donations and volunteers from CIR and Catholic Charities of Raleigh. Six months after the tornadoes, both groups are still active in Stony Brook helping the community recover.


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