For decades, friends of the Jackson family poked fun at them for dashing to their storm shelter every time a severe storm was headed their way. But no one is laughing now.
Several members of the Jackson family credit the underground shelter for saving their lives. They built the shelter four decades ago.
"Back in the mid-70s a severe storm come through Gordon County and took some lives," said Steve Jackson. "My grandparents and my parents decided to build a storm shelter."
When Wednesday's tornado tore through Adairsville, Steve Jackson's parents, his sister and two other relatives headed to the shelter, a one-room bunker built into the side of a hill, reinforced by cinder-block walls and thick, wooden beams.
"They'd been in there about 10 minutes, and they said that (the tornado) came over in about five to 10 seconds," said Jackson. "They said it was definitely louder than a train. You know, you've always heard it sounds like a train. They said it was worse than that."
When they emerged, their homes and vehicles were destroyed. Their belongings were scattered across the property.
"My sister called me on the phone, and she said, 'It's destroyed all of our houses,'" said Jackson.
As he looked at the storm shelter, he said, "This is what, other than God, saved their lives."
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