Two families survive devastating tornado

NWS says wind speeds reached 110 mph
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 2:49 PM CST
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CALDWELL PARISH, La. (KNOE) - Two families survived a violent tornado that struck rural Caldwell Parish early Tuesday evening but face a long road to recovery.

A tornado touched down in Caldwell Parish on Nov. 29 leaving multiple people injured and homes completely destroyed.

Tuesday evening, Ricky Grant, his wife and his brother-in-law were watching television news at home when they heard loud noises outside. Ricky said at that time, his wife yelled at him to get into the bathtub.

“My brother-in-law made it and I didn’t make it,” said Ricky. “The house just exploded.”

Their home, located on Highway 126 East in Caldwell Parish, was destroyed. Ricky said after the tornado tore through his property, he found himself trapped inside his home, which sat on top of him.

A tornado touched down in Caldwell Parish on Nov. 29 leaving multiple people injured and homes completely destroyed.
Tornado destroys two homes and a shop building in Caldwell Parish.
Tornado destroys two homes and a shop building in Caldwell Parish.(KNOE)
Tornado destroys two homes and a shop building in Caldwell Parish.
Tornado destroys two homes and a shop building in Caldwell Parish.(KNOE)
Tornado destroys two homes and a shop building in Caldwell Parish.
Tornado destroys two homes and a shop building in Caldwell Parish.(KNOE)
Tornado destroys two homes and a shop building in Caldwell Parish.
Tornado destroys two homes and a shop building in Caldwell Parish.(KNOE)

“It was just a loud tremendous roar you couldn’t even hear the house tear apart it was so loud,” said Ricky.

Ricky said his horse and several cattle died in the storm. He believes his dogs survived. He and his wife were taken to the hospital where they were released Wednesday morning.

A tornado touched down in Caldwell Parish on Nov. 29 leaving multiple people injured and homes completely destroyed.

Seconds before the tornado hit Ricky’s home, it dropped on top of Scott Vanhoozen and Wendy Freeland. Vanhoozen’s home was also destroyed. Vanhoozen said he and Wendy were feeding the animals inside their shed when the storm hit. He believes had he been inside his house, he might not have survived.

Vanhoozen and Freeland believe hay inside may have saved their lives. Both were able to crawl out of the rubble after the tornado moved through.

Tornado destroys two homes and a shop building in Caldwell Parish.
Tornado destroys two homes and a shop building in Caldwell Parish.(KNOE)
Tornado destroys two homes and a shop building in Caldwell Parish.
Tornado destroys two homes and a shop building in Caldwell Parish.(KNOE)
Tornado destroys two homes and a shop building in Caldwell Parish.
Tornado destroys two homes and a shop building in Caldwell Parish.(KNOE)

Vanhoozen’s ducks, rabbits, and pigs survived the storm. As the sun rose, some of the rabbits were still sitting in their upside-down cages.

Wednesday morning, volunteers armed with chainsaws, dog food, bottled water and other supplies arrived to assist the families.

Caldwell Parish Homeland Security Director Freddy Mercer says a two-story home was damaged near the Ouachita River as well. He believes the tornado skipped across parts of the parish, but the bulk of the damage was on Highway 126.

If you would like to help the families recover, you can contact the Caldwell Parish Sheriff’s Office.