By Nick Austin, Meteorologist / Reporter - bio | email
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- Two years ago Bill Chapman, Junior moved back to Bradley County from California to pick up the pieces of his life after falling on hard times. Since the April 27th tornado outbreak, he's been picking up pieces of debris left behind after his parents' home, where he's been living, was struck.
"The whole roof has been shifted about six inches," said Chapman.
Exposed wires and other structural damage have made the house uninhabitable. So his parents have been staying at a motel courtesy of their insurance company.
A tent on the front lawn has been Chapman's home day and night ever since the storms, but not just because the house is unsafe. He's trying to protect what the tornado didn't take away.
"At night we get a few oddballs creeping through," explained Chapman. "Out of state tags are still showing up."
Chapman says the police periodically patrol the area for looters, but that won't stop everyone from trying to take advantage of the situation.
"You can always get in and out within an hour. There's going to be somebody that's going to try it. I know they are. There's just morons out there," exclaimed Chapman.
With not much more than the tent for shelter, a propane tank for cooking, and his dog Brother Bear for company, Chapman described his vigil the past three weeks as, believe it or not, an adventure.
"The first week I felt like the slow ride at Disneyland with all the people coming by taking pictures, like the little bear waving at them," Chapman joked as he waved.
Chapman said the excitement has calmed down a bit, but he's not giving up. His parents want him to stay with them until the insurance is worked out regarding the damage, but he couldn't be convinced.
"I asked him, but he said he'd stay here until something was settled," said Bill Chapman, Sr. "No matter how long it took."
Chapman, Jr. does plan to return to work part time next week. His boss has been nice enough to hold his job while he kept a watch on things and cleaned up the property.
Chapman also said he has tried to see the beauty in the destruction throughout his area. "My neighborhood's come together," said Chapman. "People are talking to each other that never would have ever even waved at each other," Chapman added.
He also stated he believes "the lord has a plan" and some good will eventually come out of the situation.
Saturday, May 25 2013 12:29 AM EDT2013-05-25 04:29:53 GMT
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