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Ill. tornado victim: 'I found pieces of my house 100 yards away'

Nov. 18, 2013 at 7:50 AM ET

For Scott Gundy and his neighbors in hard-hit Washington, Ill., Monday will be a day to pick up the pieces of a tornado that left their community devastated. 

"I don’t know what we’re going to do," he told Matt Lauer in an emotional interview Monday on TODAY. "I found pieces of my house 100 yards northeast of me. We’ll be looking for bits and pieces today."

The evening before, Gundy had just gotten home from the grocery store when the tornado approached his neighborhood. He was in the backyard, taking pictures of the sky when he realized how close he was to disaster. 

"I just happen to turn south and here it comes, it was almost right on top of me," Gundy said. "Just me and my son, we’re out in the backyard, we’re running into our house. Right as we’re running into the house, going into the basement, my windows just disintegrate toward me. Stuff is flying all over the place and finally we got to the basement and then, it just, whooophh. It went right over us, like two seconds."

When he looked up, he said, the tornado was 50 feet from him. 

"My house started rumbling, it just went right over us. I got glass flying all over the place, shrapnel, all kinds of stuff. I got a two-by-four that’s like through two ... walls inside of house."

Once the twister flew over his home, his family emerged from their basement to find an "eerie silence. " Then, "all hell broke loose" as neighbors emerged from their destroyed homes — one crawling out of a basement — to survey the damage.

Dozens of tornadoes ripped through the Midwest Sunday, leaving destruction in their wake. 

Gundy spoke to TODAY in front of the remains of his home. The foundation is still standing, but the rest is splintered and scattered. 

"I mean I just couldn’t believe it. I’ve got cars in trees," he said. Gundy found his own car three houses down.

At least six people died in the severe weather system that tore across Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky Missouri and Ohio. 

"I got the most important thing out, which is pictures. Video of my kids growing up, to me that’s the most important thing. Everything else can be replaced, but ourselves and my pictures, they can’t be. So I was lucky to get those."

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