(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — At least 24 killed, 38 missing after Tennessee tornadoesTornadoes swept through communities in and around Nashville, reduced buildings to rubble and left dozens dead with more missing as residents already talk about rebuilding.
When Larry Redmond stepped onto his sister’s porch Wednesday, there was nowhere to go.
The three-bedroom home where he had visited his sister, Cathy Selby, 63, and brother-in-law, Keith Selby, 65, countless times was completely blown away by the tornado that ripped through Putnam County, Tennessee, the day before.
All that was left were pieces of cinder block strewn on the ground and a view of the devastation.
The Selbys were also gone. They died after being thrown from the home, Redmond told ABC News correspondent Victor Oquendo.
“One night, one storm, killed them both,” he said.
At least 25 people were killed in the tornado and 18 of those were from Putnam County, the county’s Mayor Randy Porter said Wednesday. Three people are still unaccounted for in the area.
Dozens of homes were wiped out as the twisters touched down in the hours after midnight, tearing through Nashville and neighboring cities.
Redmond said he got the call about the tornado around 3 a.m. from his nephew, the son of his sister and brother-in-law.
“Brian, my nephew, called and said his mother’s house was gone,” Redmond recalled. “None of their home was on the property. It was on [another] property.”
After searching through the debris, Redmond eventually found his sister and brother-in-law’s bodies about 60 yards away from where their home used to stand.
“If somebody’s sick a long time in your family, you kind of expect it, but when you wake up the next morning and your family’s gone … that’s devastating,” Redmond said.
His nephew is expected to survive, he said, though he broke his collarbone.
Looking out on the patio in front of what used to be his sister’s home, Redmond was still in shock.
“It’s completely gone. … It looks like a bomb,” he said.
Other families in Putnam County were also picking up the pieces Wednesday.
Jean Gregory told ABC News that she and her husband managed to survive the storm on the floor of their bedroom, with her husband Frank lying on top of her.
When they eventually went outside knowing it was safe, she saw the damage done and felt lucky to be alive.
“I can’t believe it. I would have never thought we’d get out of here alive, but we did,” Gregory said.
Her home was left in shambles, with the roof of her kitchen and living room entirely gone.
“It’s really bad. You want to go look, but then you want to come right back out,” Gregory said.
She has been sifting through the debris trying to find valuables. She was grateful to find a journal her husband has held onto from the Vietnam War and is hopeful to find more of their items.
“He picked [the journal] up on the battlefield,” Gregory said. “Now it’s in another battlefield, isn’t it?”
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