Tornado Victim: ‘I was fearing for my life'

Images from WAGA-TV
Images from WAGA-TV

FORT STEWART, Ga. – Hundreds of people are cleaning up after a tornado moved through the area about 40 miles southwest of Savannah Wednesday afternoon.

Roofs were damaged, cars were crushed and trees and powerlines were knocked down.

People in the area said the tornado came out of nowhere.

A two-year-old was hurt when they bumped their head during the storm, but there were no other injuries according to military officials.

Officials said the damage could cost millions of dollars.

The public affairs officer for Fort Stewart said the weather blew some cars 10 feet away.

Sgt. Tracie Lutz said when she heard the noise, she took her baby and ran to the bathroom. The tree hit right where she was sitting at.

“It’s very scary,” Lutz said. “We’ve been here on Fort Stewart about five and a half years now and we’ve never seen a tornado ever here. This is the first time.”

The storms also knocked down power lines. At one point the entire post which includes 3,000 homes lost power.

About 90 people spent the night in nearby hotels. About half of them have checked out to head back to their homes and the rest may need to move out of their homes because of the damage.

A colonel for Fort Stewart said the base did get a severe thunderstorm warning, but the severity of the storms caught many people by surprise.

Kevin Crawford lives off base and said he saw the tornado.

“I was fearing for my life of course,” Crawford said. “I was fearing for my life because trees were coming down right and left. I just didn’t want to get hit by trees or the power lines that was coming down. I just knew we had to get out.”

At an elementary school near Fort Stewart the damage was visible. Classes were canceled for the remainder of the week as crews worked to make sure the building was safe.

The rainfall Thursday didn’t help crews, but many are just glad no one was seriously hurt.

“We’re thankful that my daughter and I are OK,” Lutz said.

A sergeant for the fort said he is also thankful for the outpouring of community support. He said he's received phone calls from people in the area checking up on people.

The Red Cross is accepting donations to help the victims of the storm.

Military officials at Fort Stewart said numerous vehicles were destroyed and 40 to 50 people were displaced from housing areas when a tornado touched down Wednesday afternoon on the Army base in southeast Georgia.

Fort Stewart officials said in a statement that power had been restored to the installation, except for areas near Diamond Elementary School and some housing areas after the twister struck just before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said no injuries were reported.

Fort Stewart is the largest Army post east of the Mississippi River.

Storms moving across Georgia on Wednesday were part of a system reaching from the Gulf Coast nearly to the Great Lakes.