Ride in bathtub saved Arkansas family from tornado

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TRUMANN, Ark. (WREG) — When a tornado ripped through a Trumann, Arkansas, neighborhood Friday night, it lifted one house right off its foundation. The family inside went for a wild ride, saying a bathtub saved their lives.

“I didn’t know I flew in a tub, but I did,” said Jada Madden.

Bathtub and shower wall among the debris (Melissa Moon, WREG)

Madden said she was in her house with her fiancé, Jerrett Watts, and their 8-month-old daughter when the tornado sirens went off. She said she heard a noise and then quiet and told her fiancé they needed to get in the bathtub.

“We grabbed a pillow, and we sat in the bathtub, and as soon as we sat down, it was gone,” she said of the house. “I thought I was going to be buried alive because I felt like I was just being pushed straight down.”

Damage along Wayne Street in Trumann (Melissa Moon, WREG)

Madden said she could feel the shower wall and other debris fall on top of them, and when it stopped, the tub and house were in the middle of the street.

“I saw the other houses, but I didn’t realize my house was gone,” she said.

Madden said they were able to climb out of the tub, and other than a few scratches and bruises, everyone was OK.

Jerritt Watts, Jada Madden, and their children (Watts family)

“My older child wasn’t with us that night. He went with his grandmother, and he never does that. Never,” Madden said. “I’m so grateful. I don’t think we would’ve all fit in the tub.”

The only thing left of their home is the foundation. The rest of it is debris piles on either side of the road.

The couple spent months renovating the home before the storm hit and now haven’t decided yet to rebuild. They said they are just taking things day by day and thankful to be alive.

The couple said right now, they are staying with family. They said support from the community and strangers has been overwhelming.

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