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Writer on his twister "sanctuary": a closet

The massive tornado that tore through Joplin, Mo. has been a difficult story for any media member to cover.

But staffers at the Joplin Globe are living through it, as well.

Eight lost their homes to the twister, including staff writer Jeff Lehr.

It is, he told "Early Show" co-anchor Chris Wragge as he showed Wragge around, "gone now ... or a good deal of it. It took me a while to realize it yesterday when I walked out ... and saw what lay all around me for blocks and blocks.

" ... And I remember I went in and pulled on these shoes. These track shoes, or running shoes, because I felt like, 'Well, if something does happen, I'd better have some shoes on."

Lehr told Wragge he "heard this noise -- this noise from outside. This huffing sound. This huffing started coming closer and closer."

Lehr says windows started imploding, and glasses were flying around, and, "I'm thinking, 'I've gotta get out of here." But he couldn't. Instead, he dodged a flying piece of wood and made his way to a tiny closet, where he rode out the storm.

"That was my sanctuary, right there," Lehr told Wragge. "Look -- nothing's touched in there, really. I mean, that's -- I had to cram myself in that little space, and I'm a big guy."

Wragge says Lehr estimates he was in the closet 30-to-40 seconds as the tornado passed over him.

"He came out and saw total devastation everywhere," Wragge says. "He was able to make his way to the street. There was no sign of anything. He walked for about two miles, found someone with a car and asked him, 'Would you please take me to work? I have to start reporting on this story.' That's what he's been doing every since."

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