Interview: “There’s a lot of damage.” Man whose home was damaged by Laura explains why he stayed in the storms path

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LAKE CHARLES, La. (CNN) — Tolor White Jr. shared video of the destruction of his house after Hurricane Laura, and spoke to CNN about why he felt he had to stay in Lake Charles.

“Well, um, you know, then I was pretty much prepared for it. As I tried to explain to someone else, you know, I’m a pest control worker and one of the problems with, well, not a problem, but you know, like every time they have a major weather event down here like this, you know, you start getting all these mosquitoes and rodents and snakes and you have it. And, you know, we already got this COVID-19 battle down here, so we want to kinda like get ahead of this before he start bringing their diseases. So it wasn’t like, you know, I wanted to ride this out just because I wanted to ride it out. It’s kinda more of a, a, that’s why I’m here.”

“That’s good to know. So in other words, you stayed because you know that your services are going to be immediately needed. “

“Yes. Ma’am, that’s always the case.”

“Okay. But what was it like for you in this house while this was happening?”

“Well, uh, again, once the power went out, I, I just crawled into my barricade and I started, uh, doing a crossword puzzle and I dozed off and next thing you know, I hear this wild, this loud thing that wakes me up and I go into the, like I said, I go into the main room and I see get the roof’s been towing off. So for me, it, um, you know, I’m not trying to be funny or anything, but it was pretty much a none bed because I slept through most of it.”

“Well, I’m only laughing at your Zen, like crossword puzzle doing in the middle of 150 mile per hour winds. I mean, it was that, was that your coping device or what?”

“Well, I mean, that’s what I did during Rita. I mean, it’s kinda like a, just a, you know, I don’t know. I guess I’m just that kind of a person. I really wasn’t too concerned about it. Uh, I’ve got a good faith, you know, faith in the man upstairs and, uh, he’s always taken care of me in the past and he took care of me tonight. And I think he knows that, you know, once this is over, I’ve got a job to do out there. And that’s why I really wasn’t too concerned about it.”

“Well, he really did spare you, but what was your, describe your barricade? Where were you taking cover?”

“Oh, I have a, I have a table here that I put a mattress. I leaned the mattress against it. And then of course the two box mattresses is on top of that and between the brick wall and that it took here now, this is my first year in this condo, so I wasn’t aware of how it was going to hold up. And so, but again, I, you know, I chose the strongest, strongest place in the condo to stay in, like I said, it lasted pretty, well.”

“But how has the condo held up? Because it looks like there’s significant damage to your roof. Do you still have a roof?”

“Uh, I have a roof in this room. Uh, again, the roof and the other rooms are gone. So I did get a chance to look out the window again. I stayed away from the windows for the most part. I had a chance like about half an hour ago, just to take a peak. And, uh, there’s a lot of destruction out there.”

“What are you going to do living in a condo without a roof?”

“Well, I do have a, a manager again, we made plans before this occurred. And, uh, what Robert did was depending on on how is, uh, how his location is. I’ll probably be staying with him over the next couple of weeks until we figure out what we’re going to do.”

“But do you know what the damages to his house?”

“No, I haven’t had a chance to contact him yet.”

“And so, I mean, I can hear that you’re a generally calm, Zen, like collected guy, but when you were under that table with the box spring and the mattress propped against it as a barricade, were there scary moments?”

“Of course there were, but I mean, you know, it’s not something that, you know, I couldn’t handle,”

“I can hear that. Um, well Tolor White, thank you. We really appreciate knowing how you alone in what looks like a devastated condo, rode this out. Um, we appreciate and are so happy that you, um, have survived. It seems unscathed at least emotionally. So thanks so much for joining.”

“Like I said, I’m pretty sure I’m going to have a lot, a lot to do here in the next couple of days here. So I’m quite happy and I’m sure the customers will be too.”

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