Mr. Albert Pennington:
Interview conducted May 14th, 2007
Albert was around 6 years old when the tornado struck. He remembers how clear it was before the storm hit. But he says "it was a mean looking thing when it showed up." He lived down in the valley about a mile and half from Fremont and was in his cellar when the tornado roared through town. He said the tornado did serious damage to his house. It didn't total it but he was in a storm cellar behind the house. Since the debris from the tornado blocked the roads, they had to walk into Fremont. Even though he was a small boy at the time, he was coming to the realization that he was experiencing a serious situation, as he watched people being pulled from the wreckage on the lower end of town. He recalls hearing about how many people took refuge in the basement in the store where Roy's brother sought shelter. He said that the store owner began hollering to people on the street to get inside and into the basement. He remembers that the tornado "twisted it (the store) and amazingly it straightened back up pretty good." Mr. Pennington mentioned "the fortunate thing about this, if there is such a thing, it was the time a day it hit." He continues "if it hit at 3 o'clock in the morning, it would have probably killed a lot more people, there is just no doubt about it." He recalls hearing about a bulldozer that was working on a bridge near a creek on the lower end of town. The man on the bulldozer saw the storm coming and took the dozer out of gear and crawled under it. He said that the tornado did not move the bull dozer. However, another man, Jack, was cutting hay nearby and he did the same thing, crawled underneath his tractor. But the tornado dragged the tractor all over the field and injured Jack as he hung onto the tractor. He said that his sister and other townspeople walked up the main street and it had looked like a bomb went off, with all the trees, cars and parts of houses all over the place. After they searched for survivors, they took the bulldozer and cleared the streets. Albert said that they were lucky that the bulldozer was in town doing work, otherwise they would have been in trouble. They didn't have tractors and other machinery to clean up like we do now. Since the main street was clear, cars could take people to the hospital etc.