WASHINGTON, IL -- At the beginning of Mark Wells' home video you see his Washington, Illinois neighborhood. Three and a half minutes later, you see absolute devastation.
The camera is running as he shows the massive twister that was part of a multi-state outbreak of tornadoes and powerful winds Sunday that ripped across Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
As the tornado in the backyard grows in size and debris start to fly towards his back porch, he runs for cover. "I gotta go! I'm coming honey!" The honey is his older daughter Josie Taylor Wells. His wide and other daughters were out of town. He and his daughter hide in the safe room he'd built under the front porch.
"Is this going to save us?" she asks.
"I hope so."
The next 56 seconds of black video are terrifying. The sounds of the winds are mingled with Josie's sobs.
When Mark opens the door, his house is barely standing. 'Oh my God! Our house is freaking destroyed, Josie!" he says. He urges his sobbing daughter to get out of the house before it collapses.
When he sees the flattened neighborhood where houses stood just moments earlier, he lets out a curse. "Oh, sh*t!"
He told 11Alive's Julie Wolfe he and all of his neighbors survived the tornado, but there were several injuries in the neighborhood. He's a builder, real estate agent, and landlord. He said he built the concrete-lined safe room as an extra option to his house. Wolfe asked him, did that save you and your daughter? "Absolutely."
He said the neighbors are devastated, but rallying around their local food ball team. The Washington High School is 12-0 this year and headed for the sectional game this Saturday in Springfield. A dozen of them are homeless. Springfield's Sacred Heart Cyclones (yes, the Cyclones) are sending six charter buses to the destroyed town. The team's boosters will pay for the trip down to Springfield for anyone wanting to make the trip.
Mark Wells said it was a big deal for the small town. A chance to cheer. "These players have been cleaning up, picking up debris, and now they're going to go play a huge game," he said.
When Wolfe asked how he and his neighbors were doing, he still seemed in shock. "It's just unbelievable," he said. Even with a 3:30 video to prove it.
Related Fall 2013 Tornado stories:
- Death toll rises in Illinois Tornado
- BLOG | Rare year for tornadoes
- VIDEO | Tornado alley moves closer to Georgia