Locals talk about Rockingham County tornado, damage

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. -- Marlo Madkins is in disbelief as he walks through his grandmother's Reidsville home.

"My grandmother was right here in this room when she had to go to the restroom," Marlo Madkins said. "Something told her to go to the restroom."

When Ollie Madkins walked into the next room, the house shook and she heard a loud boom.

"Sounded like a train," Ollie Madkins said.

The roar became deafening, then faded. When Ollie Madkins stepped out of the restroom, she saw a hole over the living room and the walls of her bedroom had collapsed. The same room she was in moments ago.

"You can't even see the bed," Marlo Madkins said. "There's a bed in here."

The National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Virginia, said the damage was the result of an EF-1 tornado with winds up to 110 mph.

Ollie Madkins can't explain it. But something told her to walk out of her room.

"I'm just a miracle," Ollie Madkins said. "God blessed me and kept me and I thank God for it."

Nearby on Frank Road, Larry Murphy was celebrating his birthday with his family when the tornado hit.

"All of a sudden we were getting rained on and the wind," Murphy said. "We hollered around the corner, 'Are you OK?' and they said, 'Yeah,' and we were all fine and it was all over."

The tornado pushed a huge tree into Murphy's mid-1800s farmhouse. Murphy and his neighbors are beginning the long task of cleaning up and rebuilding what he fast-moving tornado took in minutes.

"As you can see the roof is gone, the back part is gone," said Victor Pinnix, of the current state of his Reidsville home. "Thank the Lord that we are safe."

There's a state of emergency for the tornado-damaged areas of Reidsville, Ruffin and Williamsburg. Roads in area are only open to homeowners. Folks without proper identification will not be allowed to drive through the tornado damaged locations.