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Mariaville tornado survivors tell tale of luck, determination
Brian Pedersen of Mariaville got out of the hospital Friday morning, about a day and a half after a tornado shot him out of his new barn near Mariaville Lake.
"I'm lucky to be alive and I give thanks for that," Pedersen told CBS6 News.
He says he and his daughter's boyfriend, Kacey Bradt were in the barn Wednesday night, thinking it was a safe place to be but then noticed a 12-foot square door opening up from the bottom as though the hinges were at the top.
"And I said, 'Dude, it's not supposed to do that, why's it doing that?" Pedersen says they walked toward the door thinking they would tie it down. They didn't have time.
"The door kinda did a few little floppy-flop flops, whoosh! Gone. Next thing you know the roof's lifting off the building. It was like something out of a movie. You wouldn't believe it."
Pedersen says that's when the began to run. Bradt was faster and was first to reach shelter behind some stairs, grabbing onto an 8x8 post. The storm grabbed Pedersen. "And it just kinda picked me up and threw me right out the front door. I think I landed face first in the gravel." He ended up with cuts on his face and a horseshoe-shaped gash in the back of his head down to the bone. He assumes part of the barn caused it.
Bradt says as he was holding the pole, he saw Pedersen go flying by.
"He got slung right out the door, five to six feet of the ground," say Bradt. "The noise was just so loud."
Bradt says after about twenty seconds he went outside to find Pedersen, on his feet and bleeding. He says he put Pedersen on an ATV and drove through a field toward South Shore Road, avoiding the driveway that was blocked by fallen trees. Finding the same problem on South Shore Road, they had to walk about half a mile to Mariaville Road where Bradt flagged down an EMT who happened to be driving by just as they reached the road.
Pedersen said at first he thought he would not rebuild the barn, but after thinking it over in the hours after getting out of the hospital he may have changed his mind. He had built it over the last two years with help from Bradt, his brother Kevin Pedersen and one or two other friends, almost to the point of completion.
"It's a little early for me to say what I'm going to do but I probably will (rebuild)...we'll see what happens."