Durham family barely escapes disaster during storms

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A Durham family said they were lucky to escape with their lives at the height of the storms Thursday evening.

Quick-moving, strong thunderstorms caused some problems around central North Carolina, especially in parts of Durham.

Trees were toppled along the Holloway Street area, and power was knocked out to some areas.

One family in the Bull City said they were lucky to escape with their lives at the height of the storms.

"It's nothing but the grace of God that we made it out of this house, nothing but God," said Charlotte Davis-Gentry.

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Through tears and shock, Davis-Gentry said there were eight children and three adults inside a home in the 400 block of Gary Street when the storm hit. The heavy wind and rain sent two trees right through it.

"And it happened within the blink of an eye," said Davis-Gentry.

As soon as she heard the trees start cracking and then saw them crashing through the roof, Davis-Gentry threw herself over two of the smaller children to shield them. Then she yelled it was time to get out.

"I couldn't see because there was so much stuff coming down in the house, and then once I looked up and could see the door, I was like,
'Come on, let's run,'" said Davis-Gentry. "We were all rushing at the door. We're falling. We're sliding. Everybody is crying. I couldn't see. There was hail hitting us."

Davis-Gentry was so consumed with fear and adrenaline and getting everyone out of the house, including her sickly mother, that she didn't even notice when she sprained her own ankle.

All 11 people that were in the home then crammed into their Jeep and drove a few blocks away through the rain and more falling trees.

When they returned, they saw the damage from the two trees uprooted by the wind in the home. They said there are tree limbs inside, and a few inches of sitting water.

Davis-Gentry said the home is now condemned and they can't go back inside -- not even to get her mother's medication. She said her mother has several medical issues. She recently suffered a stroke, has seizures, and heart issues. Davis-Gentry worries if they can't get the medication they may end the night taking her mother to the hospital.

The family has contacted the Red Cross and were waiting to hear back.

People in parts of Fayetteville are also cleaning up from storm damage and heavy rain.

Powerful wind and rain knocked down a tree on Dunn Road near the M.J. Soffe plant.

Trees also fell on Fort Bragg Road near Bragg Boulevard and another by Stamper Road.

Lightning is being blamed for at least one house fire in Fayetteville as well.

So far, there are no reports of injuries across the area.

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