Home » Storm Chaser Rescues Mississippi Family And Pledges To Build Them A New House

Storm Chaser Rescues Mississippi Family And Pledges To Build Them A New House

by Nolan Hawk

A storm chaser rescued a family who lost their home to the devastating tornadoes that blew through Mississippi on Friday, now he plans to build them a new one.

Jonny Gabel, 35, a Chicago carpenter who has been moonlighting as a storm chaser for the past five years, was tracking the powerful EF-4 that rampaged the Mississippi Delta area.

The twister was reportedly 4,000 feet wide, and churned through 59 miles of land at wind speeds of 170 MPH for the 70 minutes it was on the ground.

When Gabel and his team found out that rural Rolling Fork had been decimated by the storm, they abandoned their chase in an effort to help locate survivors.

Gabel told PEOPLE that when his team arrived the path of the tornado’s destruction was a “really eerie scene” of downed power lines and trees, where houses used to stand.

He heard someone yelling for help and rushed to the shell of a nearby home to find an elderly woman, who was uninjured and still in her bed, despite the home’s missing roof and downed walls.

“She was very calm, very collected. She wasn’t upset or wasn’t panicking,” he noted about the woman. “I think she was in shock.”

When they found the rest of the house’s inhabitants, including a child, and they were also miraculously “unscathed” by the storm that decimated a Dollar General store that was a 100 yards away.


Scary, heartbreaking situation in Mississippi. #rollingfork #MS was leveled by what is expected to be at least ef4 tornado. We pulled this family out of their collapsing home. The grandmother of this family was sleeping when the tornado hit. She didn’t wake up til her bedroom wall and her roof was ripped off. She’s elderly and handicapped so we had to support her weight so she could call and get out of the house. The other men mbers of the family, including the little girl being carried out, were all in the other side of the home which was collapsed. Everyone in this family survived. Miraculously. The grandmother had a small cut on her thumb. We also dug through the rubble other homes and businesses which were totally collapsed. We unfortunately found some people who didn’t make it. Heartbreaking. Devastated. We just left Rolling Fork. We’re in the car now and on our way to #Amory or #Wynona to provide any help we can. Numerous cities in #Mississippi need help. It’s assumed that hundreds or more people are trapped in destroyed buildings in different cities a cross the state of Mississippi.

♬ original sound – Storm Chaser Jonny Gabel

Gabel said the “real heartbreak” was at the Dollar General, where they pulled people out of the wreckage that were both alive in dead.

A total of 26 people died in the unprecedented 27 tornadoes that ripped through five Southern states including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, on Friday.

On early Sunday morning, President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Mississippi, which deployed the Federal Emergency Management Agency and made federal funding available to the area that is classified as one of the nation’s poorest.

“In disasters like this, there are no strangers: everyone comes together, everyone is a neighbor, everyone is family,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Sunday.

“They cannot do it alone, and the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA will be here as long as it takes. The entire federal family is here to support these communities.”

Gabel, who is a career carpenter, isn’t relying on the government to help the family he rescued on Friday.

He offered them his construction services for free and has set up a GoFundMe page to cover the cost of building supplies.

“I want to build them a new house. I’ve been building houses my whole life, and this is my calling. This is how I can make an even bigger difference in this world,” Gabel remarked.

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