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Blair family shares story of home being ripped apart while they were inside

Posted at 8:39 PM, May 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-02 21:39:15-04
  • Pete Cowen and his wife Melissa were home when a tornado tore apart their house
  • Cowen helped pull a neighbor from under the debris of their home
  • Watch to learn more about how they exited their home unharmed


Clean-up efforts have continued all through the week but, something that many haven't been able to shake is the memory of what happened, during the storm that devastated the Metro-Omaha community.

"I just sat out and I was watching the storm come over the highway and as soon as it was not quite to the highway yet but I could see it was bad and the rotation so I grabbed my wife and we just went down stairs and I said we got to get in the storage room and we crawled as far back as we could and got under, we have a mattress there from a spare bedroom we're storing and got underneath that mattress and thankfully we did," said Pete Cowen.

Blair resident Pete Cowen spoke with neighborhood reporter Hannah McIlree, about his and his wife's experience while taking shelter in what used to be their home.

"From there it was just boards cracking and glass blowing and then the the room got really light and I could tell the roof was gone and we were covered in insulation but, other than that not a scratch on us," said Cowen.

The Cowen's were able to recover their valuables and looking to rebuild from this tragedy.

"When we could tell it was done and over with which it was very quick, five minutes or less, I have a walk out basement and the walk out door was open and we had a clear path right outside the basement," said Cowen.

After the storm passed the neighborhood began working together to recover lost items, pets, and neighbors.

"I went and I did pull my neighbor out or helped pull him out with the sheriff. But, he was unhurt as well..just buried," said Cowen.

Cowen told us also that, this is not the first time he's experienced a loss due to a tornado, when he was 12 his family was impacted by the 1980 Grand Island tornado.