Homeless community recounts devastating Hattiesburg tornado - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Homeless community recounts devastating Hattiesburg tornado

Those who had been staying at the Salvation Army are now being helped at the Forest County shelter. (Photo source: WLOX) Those who had been staying at the Salvation Army are now being helped at the Forest County shelter. (Photo source: WLOX)
HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) -

Homeless campers fought for their lives in Saturday morning's tornado.

Although living situations have been made even worse now that a temporary home also was hit hard and shut down, others are still fighting to give them help.

Lloyd Saucier is in pain.

"We wanted to go across the road to the Salvation Army but we didn't have time so the ones that were with us all grouped up by a building and we sat there and had about two minutes and there was just a full impact. It picked us up. I throwed us. Pretty much beat us down."

Saucier's fiance, Angela Pugh, says she was pulled up in the air about 25 feet.

"When I woke up I was under all kind of debris, but I felt myself. I was a live. I could move. I climbed out of it and I found him," said Angela. 

The couple credits friend John Robert Young with helping guide them to safety. But, the old building they found didn't hold. 

Other campers have similar stories.

"I was scared. I was praying, screaming. I was doing everything I could. I was just thinking, 'God, help,'" said Nicholette Breazeale

Campers were trying to make it to the Salvation Army of Hattiesburg. The facility had been housing about 15 homeless people the night of the tornado. 

"Our community is full of homeless camps and tent communities. And so, that was our first concern. Because that's who we're here to serve," said Stacey Connelly, Captain, Salvation Army

But, thanks to many volunteers, including Wanda Webb with the American Red Cross, there is a place to stay - at the Forrest County Community Shelter. The homeless are not forgotten.

She's paying it forward when was a victim of Hurricane Katrina.

"It was at that time that I realized that we had a lot of homeless people that come out that I didn't know existed until then. Living under bridges, living in the woods, and all over the place," said Webb. "My heart's desire was to help them, too."

The American Red Cross has 55 volunteers on the ground in the Pine Belt area and five emergency response vehicles serving food to victims. 

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