There were signs of hope and unity after a deadly tornado left an indelible mark on a Texas Panhandle town.
The severe storm hit Perryton around 5 pm on Thursday (June 15) and was on the ground for about 8 miles before rising into a dark and ominous sky.
Later, residents were surrounded by the smell of natural gas as they dug through the debris with their hands.
Some searched for their loved ones; others attempted to save what they could from the destruction.
Army veteran and neighboring Booker fire chief Andrew Skipper were among those assisting the devastated community.
The Booker fire chief took a moment to retrieve an American flag from the debris.
His department shared a clip of the 30-second gesture on its Facebook page while family members used the social media post to search for missing loved ones.
Booker is about 25 miles from Perryton, and Skipper’s department was one of the first on the scene.
After seeing the video for the first time, FOX Weather meteorologist Britta Merwin commented, “When our country goes [through] moments like this, it’s moment like this one that Americans need to see.”
Merwin continued, “The pride this firefighter has for his country, pulling up the American flag, it wells-up the emotions inside me for sure.”
The tornado shot straight into the city, killing three and injuring about injuring 56 people, Ochiltree County Sheriff Terry Bouchard told the Amarillo Globe-News.
Two people were still missing as of Thursday evening.
Damage was visible up and down Main Street in the town with a population of 8,200.
Vehicles and several buildings, including the city’s fire department, were heavily damaged.
“Keep praying for Perryton. We were hit hard!” the department posted on Facebook in a post filled with photos of the devastation.
— Brian Emfinger (@brianemfinger) June 16, 2023