People in Franklin try to pick up pieces after tornado rips through small town

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FRANKLIN, Texas — Robert Burton takes a Facetime call from his friend showing him the damage to his house.

“Oh my God,” says the friend on the other end of the call.

Walking up the steps to his attic you can see the clear sky through the ceiling.

Burton was taking a nap when the power went off and heard a loud boom.  He and his family took cover.  When it finally finished Burton went outside to survey the damage.

His neighbor’s mobile home had been lifted off its base and was thrown into the front of his house.

His neighbor was trapped inside.

“There were people in there when we came out there was the young kid who lived in that house,” Burton said. “He was stuck in there. Wrapped up in a mattress in they said. He couldn’t get out, but they got him out.”

The damage in Franklin is widespread spanning several miles.

The winds were powerful — flipping cars off the roads and tipping 18-wheelers on their sides.

“It tore up Franklin pretty bad,” said lifelong Franklin resident Shunte Witherspoon. 

“I told him to get in the bath tub, and he stayed there until he could come to my house,” Witherspoon said.

There was some structural damage to the Franklin Drive-Thru Safari.

Although the giraffes may have been frightened when the storm blew through, zoo workers say all of the animals are safe.

Franklin is home to only a couple thousand residents.

One neighbor says it’s called small-town Texas for a reason. It’s a place where you can be sure all hands will be helping put this place back together.

“Really it’s devastating because so many people lost their homes,” Witherspoon said. “Of course they can be replaced but … my cousin and her family were in their mobile home and they just started spinning. And if they hadn’t hit a tree, they’d probably still be spinning.”


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