Tornado: 'I just came in and they told me that my building was gone'

Tornado: 'I just came in and they told me that my building was gone'
Ryan Cates holds his hand to his face as he looks at the damage to his house caused by a tornado after it touched down on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010, in Aumsville, Ore. The tornado struck the small town on Tuesday, tearing roofs off buildings, hurling objects into vehicles and homes and uprooting trees. No injuries were reported. There were early reports that some people had been trapped in cars..(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

AUMSVILLE, Ore. - Walter Sacha could see the tornado coming down the street.

"I was talking to my buddy and I saw a stream of stuff coming down the street about 200 miles an hour," Sacha said. "I looked out and I said dude, we're having a tornado."

He said telephone polls were swinging back and forth. Then a transformer exploded.

Sharon Ciampi was working in her coffee shop at 10th and Main when the wind picked up and she heard a real loud howling noise.

"I looked out and I saw like a huge wind pick up and hit that house and that tree and it was just swirling in the middle of Main Street," Ciampi said. "It was probably 100 feet wide and 120 feet tall and it was just swirling."

Around the corner, witnesses said the twister blew over a large tree, tore windows out of a nearby house, then went across the street and blew a barn apart before moving into downtown Aumsville.

Juanita Nichol arrived back in Aumsville minutes after the tornado.

"I just came in and they told me that my building was gone," she said.

The building housed the plumbing business she and her husband started in 1959. They built the buidling in 1962.

While the building was destroyed, Juanita was grateful for what she found.

"It's just a building, and nobody got hurt," Nichol said. "This can be replaced, and God had a purpose for it. We give him the glory for taking care of all of us."

Steven Worden looked up from his client's hair and saw a big black cloud come over his shop.

"It started hailing and it got worse then all the sudden the wind started howling, it just got worse and harder and harder and then it just blew the whole roof off," Worden said. "The guy that was in the chair, he got down like this, and I went over into that corner, guy sitting here went over into that corner and when the roof came off, it just started swirling, glass started breaking, the TV came down and the air conditioner went with the roof."

Tara Duncan and her daughters came downtown to survey the damage after riding out the tornado in their home.

"It was just loud, extremely loud. It was one of those where your curiosity was piqued, you wanted to go the window but instead we went for the bathroom," Duncan said. "We didn't want to be near an open window."

Jaci Jones and her daughter ran to the middle of the house they were in, just off the main path of the tornado. Jones was afraid of what was coming.

"Oh my God," Jones said. "We were in the house and it just started flurrying around. We were just scared. Things started falling on the house."