ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WTVD) -- More than 60 children ducked for cover as the EF-3 tornado in Nash County nearly destroyed their daycare.
St. Stephen's Loving Daycare Center in Rocky Mount sustained damage to a few windows, lost a bevy of trees and will have to completely replace its playground. But amazingly, the tornado skirted around the daycare building filled with 67 children from infants to 12-year-olds.
Owner Carolyn Slade watched near the front door, as the funnel cloud roared toward them. She was beyond relieved that all the damage was superficial.
"Those things are replaceable these lives in here are not," she said.
The older students had recently completed their safety drill training and knew exactly where to go and how to take cover.
In the infant room, two staffers rushed to move cribs away from the windows and save lives.
Power has been restored to the daycare, and now volunteers from all over the area are stepping up to help clean up the damage outside the daycare.
The daycare is also accepting donations to help fund repairs to the playground.
Many of the kids' parents work nearby at the damaged Pfizer plant. Slade hopes to be able to reopen the daycare for families on Monday.