Inside Laurel & Hardy: devastation, loss and caring neighbors

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MARIETTA, SC (WSPA) — Twronda Sassard made it through most of Monday without crying. But at 11 p.m., after one of the longest days of her life, she broke down.

Her beloved home, which she had lived in since 1991, was decimated by falling trees and 120-mile-per-hour winds when the tornado hit in the wee hours of Monday morning.

“My two boys grew up here hunting, swimming and fishing,” she said. “Now they don’t have anything. I was gonna leave it to one of my boys. There’s nothing to leave now.”

She and her boyfriend, Richard Chapman, had been asleep when a tree ripped out one of the bedroom walls. Neither one of them had heard the EF-2 tornado coming even though others said it sounded like a freight train.

“I heard a crash and glass breaking,” she said. “Then, I felt a vine hit me on top of the hair. Then, I felt rain water and spatters of mud hit me everywhere.”

Sassard says the house likely won’t be rebuilt because it lies in the floodplain along the banks of the Saluda River.

Even though the damage is widespread, residents have come to one another’s aid. The tales of heroism — neighbors rescuing a woman who was trapped under her flipped mobile home, for example — will live on in the Laurel & Hardy community.

“All the neighbors who are not in trouble are trying to help,” Sassard said. “Everybody’s just trying to help clean up and it’s just wonderful.”

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