May 23rd, 2011
09:00 AM ET

'Surreal moment' in Joplin store freezer: Storm drowns out shrieks, prayers

Isaac Duncan was nearby in Carl Junction, Missouri, when he heard reports that the tornado was literally around the block. So he and a friend ran into the closest place they could find – a convenience store.

"When we went in the electricity was already out there and were about 20 people huddled down," Duncan told CNN. "Everyone was just deciding what to do."

Video shot inside the fridge shows little – it is dark and hard to see – but the screams and shrieking pleas for "Jesus, Jesus," "heavenly father," and "help" can be heard.

"Get away from the window," one man shouts as you can hear a girl crying, saying, "I'm scared."

Then someone takes charge telling all of the people to "get down, low on the ground."

You can hear the wind whipping against the structure followed by the massive shattering of glass and loud noise of destruction. The group frantically rushes into the freezer screaming.

"Dad?" you can hear someone screaming. The sound of wind and destruction drowns out their voices.

"I love all you guys, it's going to be okay," one person says amid the chaos.

Finally, "Is everyone okay?"

Duncan said the glass in the front of the store looked as though it shattered and was sucked out into the streets. So he and the others huddled inside of a large refrigerator, a cooler, in the store for shelter.

"During the whole thing it was a surreal moment," Duncan said. "A lot of people there were freaking out."

The tornado ripped through the store – and even part of the refrigerator.

"Basically the only thing left standing was the cooler that we were in," Duncan said. "Everything around it was gone. (The tornado) actually tore a few holes in the refrigerator. That's what we crawled out of."

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Taco Joe

    These folks need to be more careful. They need to remember it is dangerous out there. I bet if they were at a taco place in another state they woulda been safe.

    May 23, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • courtney

      your heartless

      May 26, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. popeye

    How can you be more careful ? There's only so much you can do the rest is up to a higher power!

    May 23, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. Tammy

    My thoughts, prayers and donations are with all residents of, and visitors in, Joplin, MO. A huge thank you to all of the individuals who are there, and those on their way to help, for giving your time, strength, compassion, kind words, food, clothing etc, to those in need. Again, my thoughts and prayers. Be safe.

    May 23, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. Cesar

    All my prayers go for people to die.

    May 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. judy

    our hearts and prayers go out to the people in joblin, this makes me want to come out there and help. If the people of new richmond, oh can help please let us know your eight hours away

    May 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dee

    Horrible chills listening to this nightmare! So thankful they were spared! I used to work in Joplin back in my college days. I would have been calling on the name of Jesus, too!

    May 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. stacy labarge

    isaac please contact me. I was in the freezer with you. I was the photog from kc.

    May 23, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. WOW

    If you listen to the CNN video feed that is also posted on Craigslist, you hear the dude talk about everyone smashed into the freezer. Some of the 20 people were cut up from broken glass pretty badly but all survived. That is a smart move on their part as everything around them was destroyed!! A quick thinkin dude saved the day.....and 20 lives. It was pretty chilling audio since everything was blacked out and you can't see what is going on. Craziness. I bet the Rapture freaks are now claiming they were off by a few days and this is a sign of things to come......religious nutbars!!!

    May 23, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. @ Stacy

    that was one of the closest calls that I have ever heard! I hope that there were no serious injuries! I am happy to hear that you all survived!!

    May 23, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. emanuel

    our hearts and prayers are with the people and there loved one

    May 23, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. emanuel

    god bless america

    May 23, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. vimala

    prayers always with you all guys! It's horrible but no words to console you guys....May the good LORD protect and help the nation from any other predictable disasters...BE STILL!

    May 24, 2011 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. JEN

    THEY CAN PRAY ALL THEY WANT. NOTHING CAN SAVE THEM OR PREVENT TORNADO. IT WILL DO DAMAGES AND THOSE PEOPLE NEED TO MOVE SOMEWHERE ELSE. TORNADO RECYCLE THE EARTH IN CERTAIN AREAS JUST LIKE NATURAL FIRE AT THE NATIONAL PARKS WHERE NEW PLANTS COME BACK TO LIFE AND THESE PEOPLE ARE LIVING IN THE PATH OF TORNADO.

    May 24, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kamarasune

      Well Jen who do you suppose would grow the food that feeds the world then? Joplin is in the middle of a serious farm-belt As is CA with their earthquakes and FL and Tx with hurricanes...just where should we grow food?

      May 25, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  14. KMO

    @ Jen–what an idiotic statement...I bet you would find your religion pretty quick if you were in that situation. At least that woman had faith, and it looks to me like it worked. Where exactly would you suggest that they live? In the west where there are earthquakes? In the south where there are hurricanes? In the north where there are blizzards? Weather is a fact of life and tornados happen all over the mid and eastern US. These poor folks just got socked with a tragedy, have a heart.

    May 25, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • ep tor

      ... at least that woman had faith??? So did the ones that died. Praying makes people feel "safe" much like a child will close it's eyes and think it's safe. God has nothing to do with this or any other event. If he exists, all he ever did was turn on the lights and then moved on to other projects.

      May 25, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. courtney

    My hearts go out to the family's and pets of what mother nature has done. my heart aches for them.

    May 26, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
1 2