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'Insulation And Debris Everywhere': Garland Family Recalls Tornado Destroying Home In 20 Seconds

GARLAND, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - An EF-2 tornado was on the ground for six minutes and traveled two-and-a-half miles in Garland on October 20, 2019.

But it only took seconds for it to destroy the home Eric Tatum lived in and grew up in.

"It took 20 seconds, and everything was gone," Tatum said.

Tornado damage in Garland home
Tornado damage in Garland home on Oct. 20, 2019 (credit: Eric Tatum)

When they heard the sirens, Tatum and his wife grabbed their two sleeping children and a mattress - and waited.

"Then you hear wind shattering. It sounds like wind and glass breaking, and then boom, it's gone," he said.

When they emerged from their daughter's bedroom, "All the ceilings were caved in. All you saw was insulation and debris everywhere."

Pieces of lives and tree limbs intermingled on Murray Drive.

For Tatum, it was an unfortunate family affair.

His cousin, Chelsea Raymond, lived across the street.

"When I went outside and turned around and actually looked at the house, that's when I realized, the house completely got hit," she said.

It would be a year almost to the day before the Tatums could call it home again.

"It's hard to put in words because you're so grateful that you have you house," he said. "And you're back to a little bit of normalcy, especially in these crazy times."

But Raymond is still awaiting her closure: both with her house and with what she lost.

Her college soccer team at Stephen F. Austin won four conference championships. The rings she won disappeared in the tornado.

"They're kind of something you can look back on every once in a while and realize the accomplishments that you had," she said.

Two have been found, and she hopes the other two will turn up someday.

For Raymond and her cousin, it's been a year of both trials and tenacity.

"You stay positive," Tatum said, "The world's going to kick you down, and you just kind of keep getting up. You can't let it beat you down and quit."


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