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'We put it in God's hands:' Tornado badly damages Colleton County family's home

A tornado badly damaged the home of Jeff Ament in Colleton County Thursday. (Lindsey Maloney/WCIV)

From Savannah up through the Lowcountry, strong storms and a string of tornadoes left a path of destruction along the I-95 corridor Thursday.

"The worst of it was right around 8. I think we started getting dispatch calls right around 8:15," Colleton County Fire Rescue Deputy Chief David Greene said. "We had several come in at the same time for trees down in the roadway, and one house on Cane Branch road that had received damage that we sent crews to."

The house Greene was talking about is owned by Jeff Ament. He and his family had to run for safety during the storm.

RELATED: EF1 tornadoes confirmed in Colleton County, Holly Hill

"We were getting the kids ready for bed like a normal night and by that time it started picking up kind of good, so we turned the news on." Ament said Friday. "By that time we saw there was a tornado warning, not even a minute after that we had pine limbs busting through the windows right where we were."

Then, Ament says, the storm was right on top of his house.

"It was more of a hissing and growling sound like a loud vacuum with hissing." Ament said, talking about the noise from what he knew had to be a tornado.

"It's disturbing. It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up just thinking about it," Ament said.

Investigators with the National Weather Service surveyed the damage in Colleton County Friday, and confirmed not one, but two category EF1 tornadoes touched down.

RELATED: Holly Hill putting the pieces back together after tornado rips through part of town

"It started in this big field right behind us and it came all the way across," Ament said. "It just came right off the right side of the house and the trees pushed everything back."

Ament says it picked up his boat and blew it up against the house.

"We grabbed the kids and the dog too, and we piled into the kids' bathroom and hoped for the best and put it god's hands. And here we are," Ament said.

It took him 14 months to build the home, and only 30 seconds for his hard work to be destroyed.

“I was pretty emotional last night, pretty shook up just from the shock of it happening and being discouraged," Ament said. "But things happen and it could have been a lot worse, so I can't be too upset about it."

The Ament's have only lived in the home for four months. He says he won’t know the extent of the damage the tornado caused until Monday, but right now they are staying with family.

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