Sunday, April 11, 1999

New home, owners spared


Tornado skipped right over them

BY PHILLIP PINA
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[tornado]
Vera and Ray Murphy move into their home on Deershadow Lane just two days before a tornado flattened much of their neighborhood.
(Enquirer photo)
| ZOOM |
        MONTGOMERY — Ray and Vera Murphy can see the devastation of Friday morning's tornado. It's all around them.

        Yet the new home they moved into just two days before stands practically unscathed. In every direction, they see broken trees, damaged homes, shattered lives. It's hard to feel lucky when your neighbors are suffering, Mrs. Murphy said.

        “It's a tragedy. When I look around it makes me sick to my stomach.” But she and her husband know they are lucky. The tornado that devasted their neighborhood skipped right over their house.

        The Murphys moved into the Montgomery neighborhood to be closer to their son and his family. The Johnson Nature Preserve sits outside a back wall of windows, a perfect setting, Mrs. Murphy said. They built a grand, brick home at 8010 Deershadow Lane at the end of a long driveway.

        They had just spent their second night in the house. They were still asleep about 5 a.m. when Mrs. Murphy woke up to a roaring wind and crackling wood. The house was shaking.

        She quickly woke her husband.

        “We better go downstairs,” she warned. Then she had to stop and think. “Where is the basement?”

        In the middle of the night, in a new home, with terror roaring overhead, it was time to remain calm, she told herself. And by the time the Murphys made their way down from the second floor to the basement, it was over.

        The fury of the storm, and their own good fortune didn't dawn on the Murphys until sunrise broke Friday and they could see the damage.

        The lush nature preserve had been leveled. The roofs of nearby homes were strewn about. Huge trees that once adorned their wooded lot were plucked from the ground. Neighbors had been injured. Some killed.

INFOGRAPHIC
Why is damage
hit-and-miss
        But the Murphys survived unharmed. And the damage to their home was limited to one broken window, a dented garage door, and one of two decorative front lamps flipped upside down.

        Mr. Murphy, who builds homes for a living, said there was nothing special about his. The home is in a small valley, and he thinks the tornado simply skipped over them.

        “We built here because it was so beautiful,” Mrs. Murphy said.

        They built a wall of windows to enjoy the nature preserve.

        “Now I can't stand to look at it,” Mrs. Murphy said.

       



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PICKING UP THE PIECES
Pinpointing the damage in the Tristate
Homeowners sort out emotions, scattered memories
Where to donate, where to get help
Orphaned dog has broken pelvis, heart
Devoted pair died together
'When God calls, we must go'
Sirens not designed to penetrate buildings
Did you hear the sirens?
- New home, owners spared
Utility crews, municipal workers out in force
Volunteers offer goods, hands, time
Mother Nature's worst brings out the best in human nature
Church members shed tears, give thanks
Hoosiers pitch in to help neighbors
Insurance adjusters bring checks, reassuring words
Warren County took blow, too
One year later, Alabama tornado victims still rebuilding
Coping with the storm
Coping with the storm: Returning to your home