Father, son survived tornado: 'I had to save him,' dad says
Brian Poe and son, Tanner, 15, took cover in a ditch Wednesday as a tornado swept through Apison, Tennessee.
April 30th, 2011
08:47 PM ET

Father, son survived tornado: 'I had to save him,' dad says

Thanks to quick thinking, a father and son in Apison, Tennessee, survived a tornado that slammed the small town during the violent storms that ravaged the Southeast on Wednesday.

As the violent storm system barreled toward Brian Poe and other residents in a span of mobile homes,  just after 8 o'clock, there was precious little time to act, he told CNN's Susan Candiotti.

“I was laying on the couch watching TV, about to sleep and my neighbor called me and told me: ‘It’s coming. Get out of the trailer. It’s coming.”

Poe said he stepped outside his mobile home, summoning his son, 15-year-old Tanner, just as the storm was bearing down on them.

The National Weather Service has confirmed an EF-4 tornado with winds of 174 mph tore through Catoosa County in northwestern Georgia and into southeastern Tennessee. The same tornado that hit Apison had also struck Ringgold, Georgia, about 15 miles to the south, leaving seven dead.

“I kind of walked out and I heard it coming,” Poe said. With raging winds around them, Brian and Tanner Poe darted to a roadside ditch.

“The only thing I could think of was my son … I had to save him,” Poe said.

The only thing the two could do was hold on for dear life, Tanner said.

“Me and Dad were hugging each other laying face down,” Tanner said. “[The storm] was lifting us off the ground." A tree fell on the pair, injuring Brian Poe's back "and the wind pulled it off of us,” Tanner said.

Wednesday was the deadliest day for tornadoes since a 1925 tornado outbreak that killed more than 700 people in seven states, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Saturday on its website.

Poe said he lost several family members in the storm, which has left thousands of people homeless and killed more than 300 people.

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Filed under: Alabama • Tennessee • Tornadoes • U.S. • Weather
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. whoo lmfao


    no one is disturbing or intimidating your freedom of speech. Lmao. your usage of words makes you look like you are just in the dictionary and thesaurus pulling bull****. do yourself a favor "unequivocal" to the wasted rant you displayed above.

    Google: discretion.
    Google: etiquette.
    Google: intelligence.

    if you possessed intelligence, you would "subsequently" know that the first two are not attack on your freedom of speech; but instead, your character.

    May 1, 2011 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joey

    @ Sherry:
    Karma is not real.
    Habits, such as not supporting oneself, are real.
    I do agree with you, however, that it is becoming more and more tempting to be ashamed to be an American: just look at our lack of productivity, and at our widespread dependency on government "checks" to survive!
    Look at the way our children fail to educate themselves because they refuse to study!

    May 1, 2011 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. whoo lmfao

    compassion and empathy you lack. if you had them you wouldn't assume that living in a trailer meant failure. your pompous assumptions do nothing to make you seem caring or understanding. you are pretty hateful to use a forum like this to grandstand your thoughts about people who don't work hard/succeed. one has nothing to do with the other.

    get some education (and please don't write back what your fake credentials are) (or your real ones, you will only embarrass your school)

    and get some help.

    you're angry at something and are trying to prove it to anyone and anything.

    I hope it works out for you.

    May 1, 2011 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joey

    I refuse to let the manipulative comments of whoo lmfao and holy spirit put me on the defensive.
    It is these detractors who lack character, not I.
    The Rev. Phelps is not a role model for me, but either Hitler or Phelps would serve as a better model than either whoo lmfao or holy spirit.

    May 1, 2011 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  5. Anna M

    Wow... Just.. Wow. I find it hard to comprehend how somebody could cry their tears of "nobody is listening to me" when the news story is about somebody losing everything they ever owned, people they loved, and having little direction on what to do from here. Seriously, if you're THAT starved for attention, the kids help phone is waiting for you.

    Furthermore, its incomprehensible to anybody who has never been there what these people are going through. Imagine everything is gone in the blink of an eye. Your significant other you just kissed, the house you turned into a home, your best friend, your parents. Maybe the people who say "they were poor, forget about them" should be recruited to help clean the carnage... Forced volunteering... Help rebuild peoples lives as opposed to tearing them down.

    May 1, 2011 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. Eva

    ...What? What on Earth are you talking about? This article is about two tornado survivors here in America. All I'm saying is that if you want to talk about the monarchy in Great Britain and the Royal Wedding, it would make more sense to post your comment an article about that topic. I'm here because I care about the people of Tennessee; I haven't come to be trolled on.

    May 1, 2011 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. britbrat

    screw the haters love the people closest to your heart never
    let go the only thing that all in all that rele gets let go is burnt remarks and mis followers wouldnt we all rather have a heart at peace or undboutedly heartless at war

    May 1, 2011 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. Joey

    @ Anna M:
    Were you addressing me?
    I help people build, and rebuild, their lives all the time.
    Many of them have become rich and/or famous. You would have heard some of their names if I listed them.
    The weakness being fostered here by the writers I addressed just above will help nobody achieve anything more than increased dependency.
    Your philosophy does not really help anybody; it hurts everybody.
    If you want to understand my philosophy, read all of what I have written on this "Father, son..." topic.

    May 1, 2011 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. holy spirit

    @Joey Why dont you find a blog or forum of others that think like you. You stated read what you have written about the father and son topic. Well Joey I have read all of the comments on this blog and no one has agreed with you. Does your failure to sway anyone mean your a failure like you claim someone on disability or that lives in a trailer home is? Btw how about a couple of names of people who became rich or famous because you helped them or were part of their lives. Im guessing you wont because they are figmants of your imagination. Never was my goal to put you on the defensive. Im just expressing my opinion like you are.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. Stacy

    One bad storm after the other, what is going on? God Bless America

    May 1, 2011 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. ollie

    oh my dear,dear joey. such a pitiful, delusional creature u r. rattling off words to prove that u possibly hold some degree of intelligence where there is none. u nit! precious life has been lost! and this father saving his son's life was his one and only thought. to think they faced 174 mph winds and here u and those like-minded use this tragic event to prove to someone,anyone that u possess something the rest of the world envies. sadly no one is impressed. all the best to u. sounds like u need it.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. im dead anyway

    Trailer park stories are always fun.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
    • dgm

      Such a sad comment.

      May 1, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Darrell

    Well I lived in several trailer parks along with several other members of my friends in the military. I wouldn't consider us poor because we lived in a trailer park. In fact the other folks in the park were not poor. And we also owned our own homes. Since we moved from base to base we were able to keep our living arrangements from changing for out kids. So don't categorize everyone who live in trailer parks as poor. I am thankful that these 2 are still alive and sorry for others who lost their lives.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
  14. Sean

    I don't get stories like this. Not to downplay the significance of the father and his son's survival but a lot of people were in that storm and were tested and survived. Did the father and son seek out media attention? If not then it feels like CNN is capitalizing on this storm by trying to mine for the biggest sob story they can find. At least include other survivor's stories or even their names in a piece like this so that the story becomes indicative of everyone who suffered. Did they have stories like this before the advent of the Internet? "Dad who loves son survives tornado." When did journalism become one big soap opera?

    May 1, 2011 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
    • reply to Sean

      I see nothing wrong with CNN getting an inside view of a personal relationship between father and son. CNN has lot's of other storm stories that may apease you.

      May 1, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  15. Sean

    On a separate note: to everyone who asks that God bless America, please remember that not only is it an extremely young country by comparison but more importantly not the only country populated by His followers. Why not ask that God bless everyone? After all, God didn't create borders. We did. I ask this as an agnostic.

    May 1, 2011 at 4:18 am | Report abuse |
    • reply to Sean

      You will die. This means that earthly blessings are temporary and do not trump the God's decree that "it is appointed unto man once to die". Earthly blessings are as personal as they could be national and vary on a persons interpretation of what makes them happy but again, it is temporal. " It is appointed unto man once to die". This is a predestined aloted time that you will partake of even if you are blessed. You may die naturally but who's to say that death by tornadoe isn't natural? Or who's to say death by heart attack isn't natural etc?

      May 1, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
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