Couple loses home they've lived in for 26 years to Elgin tornado

Residents of Central Texas are still picking up the pieces after tornadoes ripped through the area six days ago.

"It was just devastating. It still is," said Lonnie Swonke, who survived the tornado.

It has been almost a week since a tornado ripped through Elgin last Monday. Residents like Swonke are still cleaning up the mess.

"We started Tuesday. It's a matter of picking through stuff," he said.

The place he and his wife called home since 1996 destroyed and made unlivable in a matter of seconds. The Elgin tornado was named an EF-2 with 130 MPH winds.

"At 75 years, and my wife 70, how do we start over? How, but we have to start over. We've been very fortunate with the community that has come out," he said.

Swonke says family, friends, and community members have gotten together to help him and his wife sort through the giant mess.

Last Monday, Swonke says he and his wife enjoyed an early dinner knowing the weather was going to be bad. Later, they saw the tornado and sought shelter together in a closet with their puppy.

He says the whole incident was only about five minutes, but it was the scariest five minutes of their entire life. He says the roof was torn out and sheetrock came down on them.

"We were sitting there and, of course, we could feel the floor go up and down. We just kept telling each other to hang on and just hoping and praying that the walls and everything didn't peel back," said Swonke.

Swonke says he is just waiting for insurance and federal aid to kick in. He says the community is planning to do another clean up of his home next weekend.

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