Dunn residents look to start over after tornado

Posted April 20, 2011 6:37 p.m. EDT
Updated April 20, 2011 6:55 p.m. EDT

— Rocking in their carport, condemnation warnings on the wall, the Bakers on Wednesday tried to comprehend the idea of starting from scratch after a tornado destroyed their Harnett County home four days ago.

“For the first time in my life, I do not know what I’m going to do or where I’m going,” Sherry Baker said.

The entire back of their Dunn house is gone. The inside is a mess.

Baker, her husband, Stan, and their daughter cowered in the hallway on Saturday afternoon as swirling winds of a tornado sucked their life's belongings up into the air.

“You hear everything that you worked for – a lifespan, 42 years worth – and you hear it ripping apart,” Sherry Baker said.

Stan Baker, a Vietnam veteran, jumped on top of his wife and daughter to shield them. The attic door and roof fell on top of him. The three suffered minor injuries.

The family lost everything in the storm.

“You literally have the clothes on your back. Everything is wet, everything is nasty, everything is blown away,” Sherry Baker said.

Two-time cancer survivor, Willy Wrench, 70, of Dunn, is also a tornado survivor.

During the tornado, an air-conditioning unit hit in the side of the head, knocking him into his refrigerator and onto the floor.

As he laid on the floor, the contents of his home were sucked into the sky.

“You won’t ever get it all replaced, never,” Wrench said.

Wrench learned Wednesday that the home he has lived in for 48 years will have to be bulldozed.

“Forty-eight years and in five minutes, I lost it all,” he said.

Wrench’s glasses did survive the storm. They were sitting on his bed during the tornado and were blown to the other end of the house.

“They aren’t bent. They aren’t warped. They aren’t scratched,” he said.