Poteau Couple Rebuilds One Year After Tornado Destroys Home

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POTEAU (KFSM) -- An EF-2 tornado ripped through Leflore County in May of 2015. It hit a neighborhood on Pine Ridge Circle in Poteau. Many trees were uprooted but only one home was destroyed. That home belonged to Jim and Gloria Gardner.

They were able to escape the path of the tornado by taking shelter.

"We went in the storm shelter we had just got the previous October. It was the first time we used it," Gloria Gardner said.

Their two story home was badly damaged and the roof was gone.

"We're just thankful god really took care of us," Jim Gardner said.

Now, nearly one year later the Gardners are ready to move in to their new home, rebuilt in the same place on Pine Ridge Circle. The couple said once everything is moved in they will hold a party for their neighbors. With the round of severe weather we have had lately the couple said the warnings still make them nervous.

"This last Sunday, I'm sitting there watching the news and it said tornado watch for Leflore County until 9 P.M. and I'm sitting there saying really? seriously? One week before our house is done? We are going to get another tornado? Fortunately we didn't get one," Gloria Gardner laughed.

Their new home is bigger than the old one they said. The couple said they do miss the pine trees the May tornado destroyed in their neighborhood. They plan to plant fruit trees once the landscaping around their new home is complete.