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Man laid off during coronavirus crisis loses mobile home during Thursday's storms

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GEISMAR - Pat Kelley still manages to see the light at the end of the dark tunnel he is currently in. 

Two weeks ago, Kelley said he was laid off from a local chemical plant due to the coronavirus crisis. Thursday night, a giant tree fell on the back of his trailer, destroying it. Despite losing his job and his home, he remains optimistic and is grateful to be alive to tell his story. 

"It was about 9:15 p.m., I had just moved into my bedroom. I was going to lay down on my couch and watch a movie, and something told me 'Get in the bed,'" Kelley said.

Kelley believes divine intervention prevented him from dying. 

"It sounded like a bomb blew up in here," Kelley recalled. "First I thought it was lightning, but it wasn't. It was this tree and it collapsed half of my trailer."

Kelley said despite losing his job and his home, he's hopeful. 

"Everyone's got something going on," Kelley said. "This is mine. It was my turn. Everyone has to take a turn. You never know when it's going to happen. Keep your bright side up and remember, the sun is going to come up the next day. Make the best of it."

WBRZ Chief Meteorologist Dr. Josh Eachus said he's been in touch with MOHSEP, Red Stick Ready and the Louisiana Department of Health on how people in mobile homes can protect themselves from the threat of severe weather with social distancing practices still in place. 

"For residents living in a mobile home, a tornado is a more immediate threat and it will be ok to leave with your loved ones," Eachus said. "Find a nearby home of family or friends that is brick and mortar, and you want to do that when a watch is issued. You have a few hours to prepare."

Eachus added it's also important to make sure all of your wireless devices are fully charged so you can get important notifications from places like WBRZ. 

"Going into this, it's a pretty substantial threat to our area," Eachus said. "Some of these pan out, some of them don't. This one has a higher risk than usual. We hope things don't work out for the severe weather. We will get through it one way or another. Our team is here for you."

After Thursday's storms, Kelley began coming up with a game plan for what he can do to stay safe in case severe weather comes knocking on Easter, since half of his home is already gone. 

"If you can see me now, I'm going to make it," Kelley said. "Somehow, I'm going to make it. I don't know how yet, but God has a plan. I'm going to just take it one day at a time."


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