PLATTSBURG, Mo. -- The National Weather Service says an EF-2 tornado more than one-half mile wide spent 28 minutes on the ground damaging homes from Smithville to Lathrop on Monday night.
Clinton County tornado damage. Man describes debris that protected him in basement. pic.twitter.com/44au4k5FyY
— Dave D'Marko (@DaveDMarko) March 7, 2017
One of several homes that were leveled belonged to Matt Gaines.
“I looked up and I said our house is gone, I said look up and he said I can’t,” Gaines said.
Matt Gaines was watching the storms across Smithville Lake from his front porch when a neighbor warned him and his partner Adrian to take cover.
“I heard this roaring sound from the Southwest and I heard people talk about that, and I knew it wasn’t good,” Gaines said.
Gaines ran down stairs to his basement with his dog, "Boobie," where he saw dust falling from the rafters and the house beginning to crumble.
“I said come over here to me and just as soon as he did, I set the dog down and we knew the house was disintegrating,” Gaines said.
Their 500-pound gun safe started sliding across the floor, the basement door came off the hinges. What Gaines thought would be their end, turned out to be a saving grace.
“It hit me in the back and it just kind of made an 'A frame' and that’s what shielded us from everything,” he said.
Everything in their home was swirling around in winds topping 130 miles per hour. The tornado blew the roofs off several other homes along J Highway and destroyed several outbuildings, including those belonging to that neighbor who warned Gaines of the danger, despite being out of town.
Gaines ran to other neighbors homes looking for "Boobie" who he feared was lifted up by the storm.
“I got a flashlight and I came back and she was underneath a bunch of boards,” he said.
Those boards now littering his yard, along with all their other belongings. It's the second time in the 10 years he’s lived there he’s left picking up the pieces from a tornado. A 2010 storm destroyed a shed.
“We’ll be all right, we’re alive, we’re not hurt,” he said.