Washington Terrace residents still dealing with aftermath one year after tornado

Posted at 9:26 PM, Sep 22, 2017

WASHINGTON TERRACE, Utah -- Friday marked the 1-year anniversary of the day a tornado ripped through Washington Terrace, damaging homes and displacing families.

One year later, the families affectedsay they're still trying to recover.

Karen Padilla wasn't home when the tornado touched down, but her daughter and other family members were.

"Things were flying everywhere in our house to where they were getting hit with stuff," she said.

She said her daughter called her and Padilla quickly rushed home.

"It looked like a bomb hit my neighborhood," Padilla said, describing the scene at her home of nearly two decades.

Her family survived unhurt, but the real pain came in the months after the chaos of that day.

"It's been a nightmare, it has," Padilla said.

The home was unlivable, so Padilla said the family of seven and their pets moved in with her sister for 9.5 months.

They got to work trying to repair the damage to the home, but Padilla said they ran into problems with their contractors.

While they were able to move back to the home in May, they still don't have a full kitchen.

They're missing cabinets, counter tops and a sink.

"This is our sink right now," Padilla said, holding up a gray plastic bin. She said they wash dishes in the bin, using water from the tub.

Across the street, the Hulet family was also displaced for months, and like the Padilla's they're still rebuilding.

"We spent the eight months trying to get our house back together," Tess Hulet said.

They also had issues with contractors, and Hulet said one contractor took advantage of their situation.

"He took off with $44,000 of our insurance money," she said. "So then we had to come up with the rest of the money to finish our house. Really heart wrenching that there would be somebody that would be so cruel."

The family is still in the process of replacing their car port, gutters, and parts of their kitchen.

But, Hulet said they have reasons to be thankful.

Her most prized possession-- a grand piano-- has been replaced.

And on the one year anniversary, she said the family planned to celebrate by going to the movies.

"We're going to celebrate the year that we survived, that we did this," Hulet said. "We are stronger."

Both families said they are grateful for the support, help and well wishes they've received from the community to help them get through the year.

"We have gone through so much," Padilla said. "It did bring our family closer together, it brought our neighborhood closer together."