WASHINGTON TERRACE, Weber County — Paul and Gaelynn Sewell are moving on to the next chapter in their life after seeing their home destroyed by a tornado last September. What was left of their home is now a pile of rubble.
That demolition got underway Thursday.
“I didn’t think it was going to be this hard,” Gaelynn Sewell said.
The tornado struck their home on the night of Sept. 22, 2016. It ripped off the roof and shattered all of the windows. Inside, their belongings were either crushed or covered in dust. The Sewells' home near 200 East and 4700 South was one of 21 residences rendered uninhabitable by the tornado. No serious injuries were reported, but damage from the storm was estimated at more than $1.5 million.
The Sewells were home at the time but amazingly were not hurt.
“My husband and I bought this house right after we got married,” she said. “Both our children we brought here when they were born, so all of our birthdays, our holidays have been here for our little family.”
Watching the house be demolished Thursday was tough because it's the only house they've ever owned.
"It's the things that we worked for,” Gaelynn Sewell said. “We always have worked hard our whole lives and bought nice things, and it's really hard to see them just being destroyed."
The family will now rebuild on the same lot. They say that work will start right away.
“We’re going to rebuild right here, and we have new house plans already made, so it’s exciting. It’s a new chapter. It’s just really hard. We’ve been here for 22 years.”
They hope to have it built within five or six months.
“That’s sad because that’s my childhood house. That's the only house I've ever lived in my whole life and like all my memories as a child are in that house, and basically anything that's ever happened in my life has been in that house,” daughter Morgan Sewell said.
She is excited, however, about having a new home soon.
“It’s happy because it’s not going to be here anymore, and we won’t have to drive past it all the time and see it,” she said.
The family says the ordeal has brought them closer to their neighbors.
“There are so many things that have touched our lives," Gaelynn Sewell said. "People have helped us, and supported us and loved us, and that part of it has been so, so amazing.”
Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc