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Sheriff’s house among dozens damaged in Houston County tornado

While no one was injured, at least 25 homes were damaged, mostly on Fairways Road
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 5:54 PM EDT
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HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) - A tornado likely caused a line of destruction in Stratham’s Landing, near Warner Robins, on Tuesday.

Amid the roar of chainsaws and heavy equipment on Wednesday, Larry Smith sat in silence as crews removed four trees from atop his home he’s shared with his wife for 28 years. The couple was home Tuesday afternoon when a storm tore through their quiet neighborhood, located just minutes from Robins Air Force Base.

“I’ve been through hurricanes and two typhoons, nothing like this,” Smith said. “The house was shaking. You hear glass breaking and trees hitting the house and then all of a sudden, it’s over.”

Houston County Emergency Management Director, Christopher Stoner, told CBS46 the National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched. However, he said representatives were still assessing the strength of the storm. While no one was injured, at least 25 homes were damaged, mostly on Fairways Rd.

“We watched the rotation come across the county, just a broad rotation and as it hit that Bonair community there, it tightened up and we noticed the debris signature on radar which gave us our first indication and we started routing resources to that direction based on that,” said Stoner.

Neighbors spent Wednesday cleaning up the debris, cutting down fallen trees, tarping opened roofs and boarding busted windows. Surrounded by the debris, sat a 1967 teal Chevy pickup truck, parked on the street. It belonged to Smith.

“It’s been in the family since day one,” Smith said.

Smith spent years fixing it up after his brother-in-law died in 2017. The antique vehicle was spared in the storm, only suffering a few dings to the bumper and scratches.

“It’s an act of God,” Smith said. “That’s all you can say.”

While the 81-year-old car enthusiast was happy the truck wasn’t badly damaged, he said he was more grateful no one was hurt or killed in the storm.

The home of Houston County Sheriff Cullen Talton was also damaged by a large tree. His home and a few others remain inaccessible to traffic due to transmission lines that are down on Old Hawkinsville Road.