published Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

TV show aiding tornado victims

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The A&E network’s “Disaster Guy” show crew is here to help a family whose home was destroyed by an April 27 tornado.

Bradley County Commissioner J. Adam Lowe told commissioners Monday that officials were contacted by A&E and the United Way several weeks ago. He said show producers were looking at several families in the community and chose one in his district.

“It’s in Bates Pointe, the very back,” Lowe said. “They are going to be rebuilding this house for the show the ‘Disaster Guy.’ They’ve worked with [the homeowner] and his insurance.”

But the network wants to keep the show’s content a secret for now. Some filming was done at the demolished house Tuesday morning, but the street leading to the house was blocked.

“We are hoping that [the show] will be some good publicity for the community,” Lowe said. “They are a very deserving family.”

“[The owner] was at home when he was hit,” he said. “It completely flattened his house. He was taken care of very well by our emergency medical services. It’s a great story, a great family.”

Connie Wright, who works with the United Methodist Church’s Volunteers In Mission, said her job was to find volunteers to help with the rebuild. Other than that, she said, she could not discuss the work. Even the volunteers, she said, were not given details.

A family member who asked not to be identified said filming Tuesday was about the family and what happened as the tornado churned through the home.

The homeowner remembers answering the phone and his daughter telling him to get to the bathtub, but nothing more, the family member said.

“It looked like the house exploded,” she said.

Meanwhile Tuesday, construction work was ongoing at several houses in the Bates Pointe neighborhood. Piles of debris, household goods and furniture remained beside the streets. Most homes in the subdivision either were destroyed or heavily damaged in the storms.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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