Dyersburg family clings to life by hanging onto pole

Dyer county resident Maria Torres' says, "I found some Elvis!! I was a great collector of Elvis."

Like so much of her life, Maria Torres' Elvis collection is gone.

Somewhere on a hill with her clothing, her furniture and her jewelry. Her late grandmother's ring - a tiny keepsake - is missing.

Torres continues, "I had a little velvet box and inside was a velvet pouch and I had it in there and it was inside one of my dresser drawers. I had it there. My dresser drawer is all over that place somewhere... so..."

Her story is - in so many ways - like so many others.

But a pole makes this story different.

A pole is the only part of her house that is still standing. And this pole is the reason - she says - that she and her husband are still alive.

Torres continues, "I was crying. I was crying and praying and yelling at my husband to hold on cause I could feel him sliding. And I just yelled at him and he say he don't know where he got the strength to hold the pole."

Maria Torres and her husband held onto this pole while a tornado tore their house away. Her neighbors - in this badly hit valley - are still in the hospital. Some didn't make it.

Torres hurt her arm when one wall of the house blew past her. But - she says - this pole kept her and her husband...grounded.

"Thank God. I thank God for it. Because if it wouldn't have been here we would have been gone... you can see the whole frame is gone. It's the only thing standing," says Torres.