By Emily Drooby
Germantown, one of the Nashville neighborhoods hit hardest by the deadly tornadoes, was a sobering sight for Nick Spiegl.
His beloved neighborhood has been reduced to rubble.
“You know, it’s really affected so many lives here,” he said. The Catholic man was in his home when the storm hit. He said after he heard the sirens he only had seconds to react.
“It was just a roar, and it was an explosion, just like a bomb went off, the sound of a freight train coming through,” he explained. “I thought we were dead…I just thought we were dead”
The minutes that followed are ones that will stay with Nick for the rest of his life.
“The patio door, the big 60-70 pound patio door is flying through our living room, so my wife goes from the bed to the bathtub,” he recalled. “I went. I followed her and I tried to go out the other door to the living from the bathroom, instead of from the living room. She pulled me back. That probably saved my life.”
They were minutes that created so much destruction.
His apartment complex has been condemned – extensive repairs are necessary and the future is uncertain, displacing Nick and over 500 others.
“On the top part of the parking garage… the cars have been just strewn around…just like toys,” Nick observed.
Luckily no one was seriously injured. He and his wife stayed at a temporary shelter for an evening, and now they’re in a hotel.
“Everything is ruined,” he said, “there’s so much water damage and glass.”
Nick is slowly rebuilding his life, but he said it’ll never be the same.
“I feel like we’d had a blessed life, a blessed experience here, and it’s gone for good, it’ll never come back,” he said.
Nick isn’t alone. 395 homes and 184 commercial buildings were seriously damaged or destroyed by the tornadoes according to Nashville’s mayor, John Cooper. Among Germantown, some of the areas hit hardest include north Nashville, east Nashville, and Donelson.