Small village of Naplate hit hardest by tornadoes; residents begin picking up the pieces

FOX 32 NEWS - The village of Naplate was the hardest hit by tornadoes on Tuesday.

The small village has been ripped in two by an EF-3 twister. Somehow, though, everyone walked away and only four people had minor injuries.

But there were moments as the tornado was making its way through the town that some of the residents didn't know if they were going to make it.

It took only minutes for the twister to carve out a path, splitting the village in two. Roofs were ripped off, debris covered yards and personal belongings flooded the streets.

As the storm struck Tuesday night, Jason Dutton, his wife and stepson took shelter in a bathroom in their home.  

“You just heard rattling and thumping and things pelting the house, and it was extremely loud,” said Jason Dutton.

Dutton says his wife and stepson got in the tub, and he hit the ground and held a mattress over his body. 

“And then you saw daylight as the roof lifted off and right there you are thinking there's just no way,” Dutton said.

They thought they were about to die by getting pulled from their home by the power of the twister.

The home itself, Dutton says, was picked up three times and violently dropped back down.

“I said I think it’s over, we are alive, it doesn't matter what you see when you get up,” Dutton said.

What they did see was surreal. Their home was exposed to the world with kitchen cabinets left open and dishes untouched.

Miraculously, he and his family walked away without a scratch.

“It's amazing, there's no answers to it…you've seen the destruction out there, it’s pretty amazing that nobody got hurt,” said Naplate Mayor Jim Rick.

Mayor Rick says half of his village was hit by the tornado and its 155 mile per hour winds, leaving 60 homes completely destroyed.

Support is pouring in from all over with cases of bottled water and donated food filling the village hall.

Strangers are pitching in, like Colleen Hill, who lives 50 miles away and brought dozens of new blankets for the tornado survivors.

“I couldn’t sleep because of it so I was like, might as well do something,” Hill said.

It is still pitch black in Naplate. Crews were working to get the power back on and were hoping to get it back up and running Wednesday night for the remaining livable homes.

As for Thursday, that's when the work begins. The village will start letting contractors come in to start cleaning up.

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