Guin tornado survivors recall 1974 storm (Part Two)

GUIN, Ala. (WIAT) — While the Millers emerged from their storm cellar, others were seconds from surviving.

“Her name was Janet Brown, and she was actually the age of my oldest daughter now, which really kind of hits home,” Keith Miller said. “Her whole family unfortunately did not make it to the storm shelter.”

Pinned under a piano from the Baptist church blocks away, Brown was grasping for life.

“I climbed up on the cellar and could just hear all these people in pain, calling and saying , ‘Help me!’ I couldn’t see them. They were all buried,” Grogan said.

Guin’s current mayor, Phil Segraves, pulled into town that night as a teenager to see images few will ever see.

“I remember coming into Guin and seeing the fires. There were houses on fire, power lines still popping. There was animals running everywhere,” Segraves said. “My parents, there were eight that were killed in the area they lived.”

Another tornado twist of fate leaves survivors stunned at the fact that 100 yards away, two horses stood by unharmed by the violent winds.

The Miller’s refrigerator was sucked out, while glass Coke bottles still sit on the counter from the night before, just feet away from where the refrigerator once sat.

Stories from the town are endless of that horrific night, when lives and a town changed forever.

Today, Dr. Keith Miller reflects on how lucky he was, because if not for the courage of his parents and his neighbors, he also would be likely be dead.

Reba Miller-Grogan defeated all odds to save her son’s life that night – a night that left 23 dead and hundreds homeless. The heartbeat of a small, Alabama town stopped for a time in 1974.

Today, it’s a town with a full heartbeat.

Copyright 2014 WIAT-TV CBS42

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