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Published: Tuesday, 6/8/2010

Battered victim says she's 'very fortunate'

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Julie Felty's face is bruised, she has five cracked ribs, and her first cervical vertebra is fractured. In short, the 54-year-old grandmother knows she's lucky to be alive.

"I guess I was very fortunate," Ms. Felty said from her hospital bed yesterday. "God was watching out for me."

Her eastern Fulton County home took the full brunt of two tornadoes that devastated dozens of homes on County Road 7 in Swancreek Township and adjacent York Township.

"I was lying on the bed with my little poodle, Peanut … and all of a sudden I heard like a roaring sound so I got up, walked around the bed, went in the closet," Ms. Felty said. "I couldn't get the dog so I just shut the closet door and I stood there and things were just hitting me in the head. I never fell down, I never lost consciousness. I just stood there."

After the twisters passed, Ms. Felty walked, bleeding from a head wound, to her neighbor's house, which was still standing.

"When it was all over with - I didn't even know the [closet] door wasn't even there - everything was flat," she said.

Her home was gone. Only the foundation remained Sunday morning when her son Jamie Felty arrived from his home in Columbus to survey the damage. Even the cinder blocks that once supported the house and a concrete patio were jostled by the winds.

Lying in her hospital bed at the University of Toledo Medical Center and partially immobilized by a neck brace, Ms. Felty got a piece of good news yesterday.

"They found Peanut," she said after hanging up with her son. "They found him in a field."

The dog had been sighted Sunday by neighbors who spent the day picking up the pieces of their shattered homes, but it was too fast to capture.

"I'm glad she's safe because she's been without water for two days," Ms. Felty said.

Neighbors also retrieved pictures, her cell phone, and eye glasses from the debris.

"It's amazing they found these things but no appliances," Ms. Felty said. "I had a double refrigerator, a washer and dryer - all gone."

There was no sign of those household items on her property Sunday, 12 hours after the storm struck, but a badly dented and dirty refrigerator sat in the front yard next door, a house that was still standing but badly damaged.

Next to that house, a three-story house was leveled.

"I was baby-sitting earlier in the day for my two grandchildren who are 2 years old and seven months and luckily they were not there," Ms. Felty said.

She hasn't decided if she'll rebuild the home she's lived in since late last year after her grandmother died in November.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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