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Deep Creek tornado victim shares his story

Posted at 1:55 PM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-25 13:55:19-05

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- In an incredible story of survival in Charlotte County, a storm victim lives to tell Fox 4 about what happened when Wednesday's twister tossed him around inside his bedroom.

The  EF-1 tornado turned part of the Deep Creek community near Port Charlotte into a pitch-black wind tunnel Wednesday afternoon.  Many are calling the damage there devastating.  But one man is feeling it more than others.

Some took cover in their homes. "I went in the corner of the closet, scared to death.  My stomach was in knots," says Mary Schoettmer.

Or somewhere else.  "The tornado warning went off.  Lights flickered at the hospital," says Terry Donahue.

But people living in Deep Creek neighborhood all agree: it's something they never hope to go through again.  Roofs blown off, windows blown out, front yards turned into garbage dumps.  But Stuart McAlpine is feeling the power of the 97-mile-an-hour winds a little harder.

"Pulled some chunks of glass out of my back."  He tells Fox 4 he was sleeping in his bed when "I was picked up in the bed and actually blown across the bedroom, probably 20 feet, slammed against the opposite wall...it actually picked me up."

He says at least a third of his home was damaged, but his next door neighbors "completely lost their house. It's a total rebuild."

The cars out front were blown into each other by the wind, leaving behind shattered windows.  Pieces of the roof were blown off.

He's maintaining his sense of humor, despite his sliders being blown out, his ceiling falling apart...even a picture frame impaling the wall. 

His home is one of five deemed uninhabitable by the county, but he is joining his neighbor in feeling grateful no one was hurt.  "I'm alive and so are all the others in the neighborhood, so we thank our lucky stars."