East Nashville man survives tornado, says PTSD is real

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – “Just a horrible terrifying experience,” said Eric Peters, “My wife and I, and our two boys, somehow got out, I don’t know how. I don’t know how anybody got out of our house alive.”

Peters says his wife woke him up after hearing the emergency tornado alert on her phone and they immediately went to get their children– ages 11 and 13.

“I went to my son’s room, my youngest son’s bedroom which is right here.” Peters showed News 2, ” My wife went to my other son’s bedroom which is a little further back. I peaked out the window on my way to my son’s room and I just saw everything, trees just bend this way.”

Their plan was to get to the basement, but there was no time.

“By the time I got to my son, and covered him, laid on top of him, about from you to the camera about less probably 3 feet, it just exploded,” Peters described, “I don’t know how I’m not shredded.”

They crawled to the hallway and got outside, they had no idea,the entire top of their house was on the ground.

And they weren’t alone.

For miles and miles, roofs were gone, walls crumbled, trees crushed what remained.

And yet, for blocks on end along Holly Street, not a single life lost.

“It defies human explanation. There should be a lot of fatalities. And there’s not at least in this pocket of Nashville,” Peters said.

While thousands of work crews and volunteers have shown up to help families try to pick up the pieces, something left unspoken is the trauma many are silently still going through.

“There are so many little things that have been triggering me, yesterday was windy, just was really freaky to feel a gust of wind,” he said, “The first few nights we were in a hotel right by a train track, and the train would come by… and it’s true, the tornado sounds like a train, a freight train coming at you.”

Their house may be on the ground, but the Peters, like many others in East Nashville, say they’ll be back.

“We would like ideally to rebuild. Because we love this neighborhood even more now than we did before. We’ve been here 13 years… it’s sort of a rebuke. You know like we’re not going to be stopped by a tornado. We’re going to stay here.”

And the one thing that may get them through is a place called Nashville.

“I am so proud of this city. I’m just amazed, There have been so many people helping,” Peters said, “This community is pretty incredible. I mean it gives you faith in humanity… So grateful. I don’t know how we’re alive.”

by Stassy Olmos (2020, Mar 7 | Updated 2020, Mar 9) WKRN

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Kyrie Wagner