Emerald Isle property owner watched via doorbell camera as hurricane, tornado lifted his home

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— “Our home is destroyed,” Jason Sawyer said upon sharing Ring doorbell camera video with WRAL News. His camera captured the moment a tornado spun out of Hurricane Dorian and lifted his Emerald Isle home off its foundation.

Sawyer and his wife were home in Raeford, having spent the weekend buttoning things up at their property in the Boardwalk RV park.

“We spent about four days down there just visiting and enjoying the weekend and kind of tied things down on Sunday before we left,” Sawyer said.

“We weren’t sure what we were going to come back to, but we sure didn’t expect this.”

The couple was looking at Facebook reports of damage to Emerald Isle when Sawyer remember his Ring doorbell camera.

“I called my wife upstairs, and we kind of looked at it together, and there wasn’t much to say,” he said.

“We knew it was bad. We didn’t realize how bad, but, you know, catching that sound of the tornado hitting us was pretty humbling. It really shakes you to the core.”

Sawyer said he was glad he and his wife were not at the beach when the storm hit. They’ll go through the insurance process for the property – one they purchased only in March – before deciding whether to rebuild.

The video and the Sawyers’ experience is another example of how specific and targeted tornado damage can be.

“We’ve talked to some of the neighbors,” Sawyer said. “There’s some folks right across the street that have sustained very little to no damage. We’re happy for them. It was very, very specific damage to some of the places.”