Sheriff: 'Tornado exploded my house' - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Sheriff: 'Tornado exploded my house'

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DADE COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -- Dade County Sheriff Patrick Cannon doesn't have even a picture left of the home that he built himself sixteen years ago.

The tornado that hit April 27 left only cinder blocks and the slab.

"My house exploded," he says.

Weather alerts had given him enough warning to get his wife and four children to safety.

But at a price.

"She lost her wedding rings," says Sheriff Cannon. "She'd just gotten home to wash her face, clean up before going to the Sheriff's office for safety. Laid the rings down on the counter, when I told her to get out of the house."

His family has recovered the bicycles that the EF-3 blew across his seven and a half acres and beyond. They rest against what's left of the 1950 Ford pickup he was restoring.

The tornado took no lives on the Sheriff's side of Sand Mountain. But it spared nobody's home. When he and his neighbors will be able to rebuild, is still anybody's guesstimate.

Cleanup contractors are putting in twelve-hour shifts. No days off.

"We're supposed to be up here six months," says Jacob Hicks, up to work in North Georgia from Phoenix City, Alabama. "But the way we're working? Ain't gonna last that long."

Sheriff Cannon has no doubts he'll rebuild.

"But, I'm under-insured," says Cannon. "That's one of the talks around town is, are the insurance companies gonna fight you, or give you what you deserve?"

One day shy of four weeks since the storms, he, and Dade County are reaching for normal.

Tuesday afternoon, he spoke at graduation ceremonies for fifth graders at Davis Elementary in Trenton. He's making a point to praise parents and children.

"There's so many people that were not affected, they could have just continued on with their regular everyday lives, but they stepped up to the plate," he says. "We had a lot of kids that stepped up, whether it was unloading a truck, delivering water; that's more uplifting to me than anything. We didn't let it get us down."

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