Man survives after Iona tornado lifts his house off the ground, wrecks neighbors’ homes

Published: January 18, 2022 7:59 AM EST
Updated: January 18, 2022 12:15 PM EST

As people come together to help those devastated by Sunday’s tornadoes, we are going to see images of devastation for a long time. When the storm blew in, few people had time to prepare, including one man who got an alert, grabbed his blind dog and ran for the bathtub.

Some community members along Windcrest Drive in Iona only had seconds to react. Victor Paturzo says that one minute, he was looking at the news—the next, he was running down his hallway. He says the tornado that came through on Sunday caused his home to completely lift off of the ground.

“All of a sudden, I got the alert on the phone,” Paturzo said. “I decided to open up the blinds on the west side of the house. I saw the debris and the rotation coming towards me and then it got closer and closer and I decided it’s time. I grabbed the dog, I ran down the hallway jumped in the tub with the dog and hunkered down and it just came through like everybody said. It sounded like a freight train.”

All of the debris that once was in the road has been pushed to the side, now that community members have been cleaning up. Another man had a tree on top of his house. Paturzo is thankful everyone survived, even a different neighbor who was pinned under his own home.

“I got out the house, and I looked and I see my neighbor’s house laying on its roof,” Paturzo said. “I ran across the street and I seen his daughter and she was in tears, and I asked her, ‘Where’s your dad?’ And she goes, ‘He’s inside the house.’ “It’s just a blessing that they made it out.”

Patruzo says it’s a good thing he had hurricane tie-downs on his house. The whole situation is devastating, but he’s thankful he didn’t lose any of his neighbors. He says he’s never seen anything like this before.