INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - Churchgoers in Independence rushed out of a service Sunday night just minutes before strong winds blew the roof off of the building and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of damage.
And they all have a 12-year-old girl to thank.
Gracie Ankrom heard about strong storms moving into the area and ran next door to her grandfather's church, Full Gospel Assembly, 10537 E 6th St S.
PHOTOS | Storm damage at Independence church http://bit.ly/18cdmMC
She didn't know she would save a crowd of about 50 with a single request.
"You've got to get out," she told the congregation. "There are tornado watches in our area."
She says just 5 minutes after everyone left the parking lot, a gust of wind blew the roof off of the building and onto a nearby pickup truck.
Gracie's sister explained what happened.
"My little sister. She ran over to the church and said you guys need to leave there are warnings everywhere," Alexis Ankrom said. "They did. They left and no later than 5 or 10 minutes later the church was ruined. It was scary."
City officials in Independence reported no other storm damage.