Sabine Parish community comes together after 2 tornadoes

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 6:53 PM CST
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SABINE PARISH, La. (KALB) - Clean-up crews and volunteers are still assessing damage brought on by two tornadoes that touched down in the early morning on Jan. 9, 2022.

One of the tornadoes was classified as an EF-2, meaning it had wind speeds between 111mph-135mph.

The tornadoes caused extensive damage to the area. The Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office reported that around 15 homes, five barns, two sets of chicken houses and many more sheds and vehicles were damaged or destroyed by the tornadoes.

The Westfalls is a family of five that lives in the Peason community. Alesha and her husband Justin, their eight-year-old daughter Kaylee and three-year-old twins Carter and Connor were inside of the home when one of the tornadoes hit. Their neighbor, Pastor Dennis Bignar, said after the tornado had passed, he couldn’t see the Westfall’s home anymore.

“We couldn’t see them, and after it was over with, I was able to get out about 5:30 a.m. and when I went and got outside, I saw that their house was destroyed,” said Bignar.

Justin had sustained a chest injury and had broken his back. Eight-year-old Kaylee fractured a vertebrae and her wrist. Both remain in the hospital. Alesha suffered a broken ankle and the twins sustained no major injuries.

“It’s all major damage to a family, and it’s just heartbreaking to go through the community and see what has taken place,” said Bignar.

A GoFundMe page has been started for the family and has raised over $20,000 in less than 24 hours.

The Pine Grove Baptist Church is acting as a home base for donation items and volunteers. Trena Bell said the community didn’t wait and began gathering and distributing donations to those affected right away.

“It was about seven o’clock on Sunday morning when the word got out that people were needing things,” said Bell. “So, we started setting up, and so by 12:30 p.m. or 1 o’clock, we already started delivering food to homes and to get things that people might need. We’re going to be here until nobody is calling or asking for anything. Whatever it takes, we will be here.”

Bell also commented on how the community has come together to support each other to get through the devastation the storm brought.

“It just shows you how strong people can be as long as you have faith in God and trust in him,” said Bell.

For those looking to donate or need supplies, contact the Pine Grove Baptist Church at 318-315-0808, 318-379-8797, 318-508-3863, or the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office at 318-256-9241.

To donate to the Westfall family, CLICK HERE.

RELATED: Family of five injured after tornado rips through Sabine Parish

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