Dust fell onto the family and friends huddled there.
"I hugged my daughter for dear life," a pregnant Jacqueline Sivard said, still shaking as she recalled Monday's tornado.
Sivard, her daughter, Taylor, 6, her husband, Rod, and the family's dog had just survived along with 10 other people, and other loved ones, in the basement of a home at 3300 N Eastern. Stephanie Puckett had brought Dodger and Steeler to this refuge.
"I said, 'I'm not leaving my dogs,' " she said. "They're like family."
She recalled most of those gathered at the home as the storm approached took cover downstairs when power transformers began bursting west of the neighborhood. A few minutes later, the men, convinced of the danger, joined them.
"You know when the guys come in there's trouble," Puckett said.
Puckett recalled the sound "was terrible. We just hit the floor. You can't imagine at all what's going over your head."
Minutes later, the home owned by Geraldine Percival was hardly there. The homeowner's son, who had been playing golf, discovered the people, including a neighbor 96 years old, were trapped in the basement.
Neighbors like James Dunn, who ran a quarter mile to check on the residents, joined others tugging at debris for about 90 minutes after the storm passed the home. One by one those trapped in the basement emerged into the damp, dark evening, happy to be alive.
"Everybody, thank God, seems to be OK," said Velma Percival, the homeowner's daughter.
Reality and shock set in as they saw what was left of the neighborhood. Not much.
"I can't tell you what it's like to walk out of this house and see this," Sivard said. "I can't tell you."
The large home, which backed up to a golf course, now was only a remnant of a garage. The golf clubhouse next door did not appear to be there anymore. Power lines blocked driveways; trees and utility poles were doubled over and splintered.
"Where's my car?" one person said as she emerged. "It was parked right here."
All the cars and trucks the group drove to the home were gone. As the group gathered out front, a figure wrapped in a blanket, eyes still wide from what he'd seen, made his way through the dusk toward the group at the Percival home. "You're OK!" they shouted to him.
"I was wrapped around the toilet," Joe O'Bryant said, describing
how he hid in a rest room of the