COOKEVILLE, TN — The steady buzz of chainsaws was the soundtrack Wednesday in Putnam County, Tennessee as families continued to clean up after Tuesday’s deadly tornado. Early Tuesday morning, with their dogs and the wind howling, the Grooms family piled into a closet.
“My daughter was here, my husband, my mom and myself. We had our dog and my mom’s little dog in here.” said Julie Grooms.
By now the tornado sirens were blaring. Julie says they could feel the twister inching closer. Her husband Eric encouraged their 6-year-old daughter to pray.
“God watch over the people in my town. Watch over mothers and fathers and babies and brother and sisters. She starting going and we heard the roof go and we knew. We could hear it. We knew. My husband and I stopped and just looked at each other. It was that moment of its here. This is real and it’s happening. We just looked at each other. I grabbed my daughter and laid on top of her. Eric laid on top of my mom. He held the dog by the collar and it went. The whole house just went.” said Grooms.
In an instant, it was over. Realizing they’d escaped with their lives, they navigated through the debris.
“And we all managed to get down and get into our neighbor’s house. We all hunkered in there and got there. People started bringing their babies in,” added Grooms.
Emotion seeping through the shock. Reflecting on lives lost and second chances found.
“It’s the most terrifying thing to sit there and think I’m dying. This is going to happen right now,” said Grooms.
In a neighborhood where so much has been lost, the Grooms family has found perspective.
“I feel like god just stuck his hand on us and help us down. This piece of carpet is the only thing left in my house. It’s where we were. A hand on top of us. There’s no other explanation.”