If Jessica Chandler hadn’t left to get baby formula, she and her children would have been there when the tornado hit and destroyed their home.
As CNN reports, the mom of four from Lee County, Alabama, was one of the victims of tornadoes that tore through the area on Sunday — killing 23 people, injuring dozens, and leaving many homeless.
The storm managed to miss Chandler and her children “by minutes.” But it wasn’t because she knew the tornado was coming and got out of her house in time. She told CNN that she had no idea there was a tornado in the area:
“My mom told me there was supposed to be bad thunderstorms, possible tornadoes. But I mean, we hear that quite often whenever it rains bad down here. I had no clue what was coming. No clue. I didn’t hear sirens or anything.”
Moreover, the way that people watch television has changed, blocking off one way to get notifications of tornadoes. Chandler explained:
“Many people don’t watch cable anymore. They watch Netflix. We didn’t know.”
While Chandler was lucky to be out of the house when the tornado hit, her boyfriend wasn’t as fortunate. She told CNN the only warning her boyfriend had was the sight of their front porch flying away:
“He heard some loud noises. He walked to the screen door. […] He seen the front porch fly up. He said he had just enough time to run […] and dive for the couch. He held onto the couch for dear life.”
The tornado picked up Chandler’s boyfriend and dropped him in a nearby tree. Charged with adrenaline, he then ran next door to his parents’ house. His parents had taken refuge in their bathtub. He had to get help to move the debris off his parents and get them out.
Chandler’s boyfriend was hospitalized with a broken leg and broken ribs, as well as numerous scrapes, cuts, and bruises.
“Our house is not there anymore. It’s far away from where it used to be,” Chandler told CNN.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Chandler and her family recover. In addition to losing their home, they have lost all of their clothing, furniture, and personal belongings.
Chandler told CNN she’s grateful fate led her and the children out of the house before the tornado hit.
“Thank God I was not there with my children,” she said. “I don’t think there’s one chance me and my kids would have survived that.”