A Tuscaloosa tornado survivor is celebrating two milestones ahead of the third anniversary of April 27.
Last week Oma Phurrough celebrated her 100th birthday. She was 97-years-old when the April 27, 2011 EF-4 tornado leveled her Forest Lake home with her inside.
"I didn't even know there was a storm. So it was unexpected to me," Phurrough said.
Phurrough doesn't remember much about April 27.
"I wasn't scared. I didn't have time to get scared," Phurrough said. "I just remember sitting up there and seeing the lumber coming towards me."
Phurrough then found herself on top of the rubble and calling out for help.
"And a voice said, 'Where are you?' And I said, 'I'm sitting here on top of the house,'" Phurrough said.
A group of people found Phurrough and pulled her from her home then took her to the hospital. A Tuscaloosa News photographer snapped a striking image of Phurrough in a truck bed wrapped in a blanket surrounded by devastation. She suffered a gash to the top of head along with minor cuts and bruises.
"Those boys were so nice to put me in that truck and tie the chair down and ride with me to the hospital," Phurrough said. "I think it was a blessing."
Now three years later, Phurrough lives with her daughter not too far from her Forest Lake Home. She enjoys sitting by a window and watching the birds and listening to music. She also is just enjoying life itself after surviving the storm.
"That's a long time to live. I'm happy to be here. I haven't decided I want to leave yet," Phurrough added.
Right after moving into her daughter's home, a storm shelter was built so the family can have a safe place to go when Mother Nature strikes.
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