GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — “I remember it being just nasty looking outside.”
Cory Payne, a former student at Station Camp High School will never forget April 7, 2006. He was in fifth period around 1:30 p.m. when the tornado alert sounded. Another former student and now a teacher at the school, Leah Miller remembers that moment too.
“I don’t think anyone expects a tornado to be coming straight for your school,” she said.
Students and teachers started filing out of their classrooms. Kyle Gilliland, who is still an English teacher at the school, says memories of that day still haunt him.
“To watch it (the tornado) come down the road tearing up trees looked like a weed eater just going right along the creek bank and tearing it up. I stood there kind of shocked,” he recalled.
After seeing the tornado, Kyle crouched down with hundreds of students like Cory and Leah along the hallways.
Cory said they even recorded videos in case they didn’t make it out alive. He can still recall what the tornado sounded like.
“In my opinion, it probably sounded like 600 washing machines running at the same time. It was the most awful noise,” said Payne.
“It sounded like a train, a freight train. You could feel the doors and windows moving and it sounded like a train was going over us when we were on the ground,” said Gilliland.
They stayed in the hallway for another 45 minutes before getting the all-clear. When they got outside it was pure devastation. Debris were everywhere, car windows were broken, and the softball and football fields were a wreck.
“It was the scariest thing that I have ever come out to,” according to Gilliland, “It felt like a near-death experience.”