Cottage Grove residents sift through damage after storm

COTTAGE GROVE, Tenn. — A local town was devastated during last week’s storm, leaving several residents affected.

“When I walked outside, and my husband said, ‘Oh. You’re not going to believe what it looks like,'” said Helen Roberts-Niemi, who lives in Cottage Grove.

Cottage Grove in Henry County is among hundreds of cities and towns that were affected by the Friday night storms.

“All of the sudden we heard the train sound and immediately ran for the basement and came back out about five minutes later. We could see all the damage, we could see barns gone, part of the house and sunroom,” Roberts-Niemi said.

Roberts-Niemi and her family lost four barns, four farm animals, and experienced minor damage to their home. But others were not so fortunate.

“There’s so much that’s going to have to be burned because I can’t take it with me. [I’m] just having to turn my back and say goodbye,” said Cindy Barker, who lived in Cottage Grove.

The Barker family was in their house during the storms. Minutes before the storm hit, the family took safety in their laundry room and basement.

“We just threw him down on the ground. My dad got on top of him. I got on top of my dad, and I could hear the crashing and the ripping and I just hollered, ‘Dad, it’s gone. The roof is gone. The house is gone,” said Traci Barker, who lived in Cottage Grove.

Cindy Barker has lived here since she was 8-years-old. Although she’ll always have those memories in her heart, it’s still hard to see her childhood home destroyed.

“There’s just not telling how many times I’ve walked around and picked up the board and laid it back down because I can’t throw it away. It’s just, there’s no words,” Cindy Barker said.

The family is cleaning out their home with the help of volunteers and other members in the community.

The family says they aren’t sure of their next steps, but they’re glad to be going through this time together.

The Barker and Roberts-Niemi family want to thank their community for their hospitality and help, which are both greatly appreciated.

You can find more storm coverage here.

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