Linden man survives being pinned by flying roof, wall

Posted April 18, 2011 11:01 p.m. EDT
Updated April 19, 2011 5:59 a.m. EDT

— The Raynor home in the Cumberland County community of Linden was not spared by the widespread damage from tornadoes that struck the region Saturday, but their house and possessions were the last things on family members' minds.

They are counting their blessings Monday that despite their kitchen being flung outside the home by the ferocity of the storm, Donald Bruce Raynor Jr., 43, survived being knocked to the ground and pinned by flying debris.

He was listed in critical condition at WakeMed Hospital Monday night, but the important thing is: "He's alive," said his father, Donald Raynor.

The younger Raynor, who goes by Bruce, was outside talking with friend Brian Blowers when the storm rolled in. Blowers stayed in the truck and Bruce Raynor rushed back to the house.

"It happened so fast. It was just a big blur," Blowers said.

The roof of the home and a bedroom wall both landed on Bruce Raynor's head.

"I just couldn't believe what I'd seen," Donald Raynor said. "When I first looked at him, I thought he was already dead."

It took three people to lift the debris off him and another 45 minutes before help arrived.

"I definitely didn't think he was alive," Blowers said.

But he survived and was rushed to the hospital.

Family members say he's expected to live.

"It was a miracle. The good Lord is looking after him," Donald Raynor said.

Bruce Raynor has three vertebrae out of place in his neck and broken bones in his face. He was listed in critical condition Tuesday morning. His recovery may be long, just as it may take months or years for storm-ravaged areas like Linden to rebuild, but the Raynors are hopeful – for Bruce and for their community.