A mere 70 yards separated the shattering punch of a tornado from a veterinary emergency clinic Sunday afternoon in Hattiesburg, Miss.
"It was so close that one of our side doors became unlocked," Dr. John Mayfield, co-owner of the Animal Medical Center, told the VIN News Service. "There is an L-shaped apartment building behind us that lost the roof."
Six people were working at the hospital during the storm. A patient arrived just before the twister. He was a severely injured dog that needed surgery after being eviscerated by another dog.
The veterinary team saw the tornado when it came over the horizon. They retreated into an exam room and held cushions over their heads. They huddled with the patient. The power went out.
"We just held him as the storm went over all of us," Mayfield said. "Then we started back to work on him with headlights. He made it through surgery but died an hour afterwards. We lost him to hypothermia. He was so cold and all we had were hot water bottles to warm him up. It was a tough night to go through and then lose your patient."
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said at least 63 people were injured and about 200 homes damaged or destroyed by a series of tornadoes that ripped through nine counties, Reuters reported