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Church being used as shelter and triage after possible tornadoes in Alto

ALTO, Texas (KETK) - The River Church in Alto is full of people who no longer have a place to live after possible tornadoes ripped through East Texas Saturday.

Pastor Ron Rose was inside when the first storm hit.

"We had a baby shower going on and our Spanish church had an event going on too. Then, the second storm came and we just got everyone out and over to our school," he said.

The church was spared and is now being used as a staging area for first responders, volunteers, and people who rode out the storms.

"The Lord blessed us with a generator after the hurricanes so we are probably the only place in town that has power," Rose said.

The pastor and his staff loaded up their church van with people who needed help.

"It's nice to be able to have these people here and welcome us in. We have EMTs checking everybody out," Emma Abbey said.

Abbey is a secretary for the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe.

She was spending time with dozens of other Native Americans at Caddo Mounds when the second storm hit.

They took refuge in a nearby building to get away from the weather.

"The wall fell in on one of the girls and her dad jumped in and pushed the wall up. It was horrible," Abbey said.

The American Red Cross of East Texas is also jumping in to help out the church.

"The community has come together. You know, we're not this church, that church, we are the children of God trying to take care of the people," Rose added.

The River Church will be holding Sunday services as normally scheduled.


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