LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) — Grease Pro employees said they’re thankful to be safe, after Saturday’s severe weather produced a possible tornado in Lynn Haven which ripped through the business.
Around 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, residents filmed a cellphone video of a possible tornado rolling down Hwy 390 near Georgia Avenue. The strong winds knocked down trees and even flipped a semi-truck on Hwy 77.
Nearby, employees at Grease Pro near East 14th Street in Lynn Haven were working in the garage, when they noticed a sudden shift in the wind.
“We started seeing debris flying in a circular pattern,” said employee Ronald Johnson. “The wind started to develop a twister in this area.”
Store Manager, Kenneth Rich, said he acted fast, seeing the funnel cloud in the distance and ordering those inside the building to get to safety.
“A customer was kind of frightened for a minute,” Rich said. “We had to let him know, ‘hey move, we have to get to the pit now.’”
They found shelter in a lower level of the building down a stairwell; soon after, the storm was passing loudly overhead.
“You just hear the howling of the wind, the metal bending, the wood cracking,” Johnson said. “It was pretty scary.”
“First thing that was on my mind was my family,” Rich said.
The whole experience lasted only minutes. When the wind died down, they came back upstairs to see the damage.
“Basically the whole roof [was] lifted up, turned sideways and then fell back down,” Johnson said. “Pretty bad damage, definitely going to get a remodel.”
The roof collapsed, garage doors fell in, and debris from the building and other surrounding homes was splayed through neighboring yards and streets. Rich said it was a scary experience, but he’s just glad everyone is safe.
“Grease Pro is a very great company, they’ll just rebuild and keep going,” he said. “I’m not as much worried about the building as I was the customer and my employees.”
He said they’ll be back up and running as soon as the building is fixed, ready to serve customers once again.