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'A can opener ripped the lid off the house:' Caldwell County family cleans up after tornado

Posted at 5:51 AM, Oct 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-25 16:47:06-04

CALDWELL COUNTY, Mo. — One family in Caldwell County, Missouri is working to pick up the pieces after a tornado completely destroyed their home around 3:30 p.m. Sunday

“A can opener ripped the lid off the house,” John Duncan described.

His wife JoEllen is also in disbelief.

She remembered what the two to three minutes were like inside a small prayer room as the storm ravaged their home.

“Yeah so then all of a sudden we heard rumbling and rolling thunder and again I could see storms coming from across the street, and we were shocked. We had no idea, just a Sunday afternoon just praying,” JoEllen said. “Then John yelled, 'It’s a tornado,' and so we dropped right here on the ground just like this.”

Amber and Matthew Duncan, two out of five of John and JoEllen’s kids, say the damage brings them to tears as they look around at what is left of their childhood home. A home they helped their parents build from the ground up.

“I was 14 when we started building it so I actually was like, this is my room, I’m going to put up sheetrock with my dad. And so I chose my own colors and painted the walls, and this is weird. This is not the same house anymore,” Amber said.

“It hit me when I came in here and my dad's scriptures were on the table, and being able to save them and just knowing that the family was okay,” Matthew added.

Not only do the Duncans have four kids who are by their sides, but they have a community of people lending a helping hand.

“The neighbor next door was yelling, 'You alright? You alright?" John remembered. “Well it was only two or three minutes, and before we got out the house, the neighbor across the road was here wanting to know if we were okay and the cars were stopped and the people were coming."

Nearly 100 family members, friends, neighbors and loved ones came to help pick up the pieces, and the Duncans are now working to figure what's next.

“I feel so blessed and it’s going to be okay,” JoEllen said.