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People pull neighbors out of destroyed homes in East Texas

Upshur County residents clean up debris after the storm.
Upshur County residents clean up debris after the storm.
Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 7:35 AM CDT
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PSHUR COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - A particularly hard-hit area from Monday night’s tornado in Upshur County was a few miles east of Gilmer on Highway 154. Many homes on Azalea Road were damaged, some beyond repair, and there were some people trapped in the debris.

Lance Talbert and Steven Phippen live near each other in the Azalea Road/Highway 155 area, and both had similar experiences Monday night. They pulled people out of destroyed homes. Lance got his family to a safe room and when the tornado passed, he went to check on his mother next door.

“As you can see the house is completely destroyed. And so fortunately I called out for her. I saw her arm move in the wreckage. And I came down and I just basically had to lift her out of the pile of rubble and move her as best as I could to get her out of the weather and into safety,” Talbert said.

Steven also got a family member to a safe room and rode out the storm. Then he went out to see who needed help.

“Saw that the neighbors behind us; their homes were gone,” Phippen said.

He found those neighbors were okay, and one of them told Steven that:

“He could hear somebody back here. And so we ran back that way,” Phippen said.

And Steven and his neighbor found an injured man in the rubble.

“And it was just pouring rain. So, we held a door over his head to keep the rain off of him,” Phippen said.

And the two wound up using a side by side to get the injured to ambulances since roads and driveways were blocked by trees.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking,” Talbert said.

And as to why they did it, well:

“I would hope somebody would come to my aid,” Phippen said.

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