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Tornado razes Alexandria school, giving students mere minutes to evacuate

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ALEXANDRIA - An Alexandria school was decimated by a deadly tornado that struck the area, Monday.

Hope Baptist School's teachers and students had mere minutes to make their escape before the twister struck.

Pastor Rusty Thrift was in the church next door to the school when he says he saw a weather alert on his phone just before 12:30 p.m.

Thrift says he hastened to alert the students and faculty, and his quick action undoubtedly saved their lives.

Thrift told KATC, "Before I got to the back, they had already started movement and were able to get everyone in the church building, which, from the looks of things now, was the safest of all facilities."

Once everyone was inside of the church, Thrift and another faculty member struggled against strong winds to shut its door.

He goes on to say, "By the time we got the door pulled shut and got into the back of the auditorium of the church is when windows started busting out, and you could just kind of see the walls starting to... almost like they were being sucked out, and then part of the roof was coming off."

After the tornado passed, the group was able to leave the church and make their way home. 

Thrift looks back on the experience with gratitude, saying, "This is just going to be a long process, but nobody was hurt. Thankfully, nobody was killed, so we have a lot to be thankful for in spite of everything that we're dealing with right now." 

KATC says Hope Baptist School will take an extended Christmas break. During that time, the pastor will attempt to locate a temporary building.  




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