Firefighters help family impacted by East Texas tornadoes

Firefighters helping with storm recovery

CANTON, Texas -- The tornado damage in East Texas stretches for miles Texas after a series of tornadoes ripped through the rural area of Canton, Texas Saturday. 

The view from WFAA's drone shows trees stripped of their branches and houses leveled by an EF-3 Tornado.

"I think that emotionally when you see all the debris, it just takes an emotional toll on you," said JD Schulgen, who is an off-duty Garland firefighter. 

Schulgen spent Monday leading an army of volunteers to a house that belongs to one of his men.

"The call came from my fellow firefighter Don Good that his house got hit. He was on duty, headed home," Schulgen said. 

Good's wife, Charlotte, was home alone when the storm rolled over her house.

"She was covered in dirt, mud, matted hair - somewhat bloody - eyes almost all swollen shut. She couldn't see a thing, very emotional. She just lost everything," Schulgen said.

According to friends, Charlotte was treated and released the same night. Those friends say she'll be just fine.

"To find her with a broken nose and a few bumps and bruises, it's a miracle. I don't know how she survived," Schulgen said. 

With the Good family safe, the call went out for help to off duty first responders from across the region. They showed up with shovels, chainsaws and heavy equipment.

Those that couldn't help in person used social media to assist. The community donated more than $13,000 through a GoFundMe page in just one day.

"It's just a miracle that more people weren't killed or severely injured, and I'm so sorry for the families that lost loved ones, and it's amazing the devastation that a tornado can cause in such a little bit of time," Schulgen said. 

The storm took these houses, but thanks to these firefighters, they'll rebuild with a stronger foundation.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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