Pasadena family reflects on hiding in closet while tornado ravages their home

Kiowa Street in Pasadena is now lined with memories.

What used to be valuables, has turned to debris.

Still, the community is coming together to prove no tornado can rip them apart.

“This is a two-by-four from the frame, right through the basketball goal. This was outside in the morning before we picked it up,” said J.R. Aguilar who got the call from his wife while at work that something was wrong.

“The first thing I thought of was burglary,” he said. “So then my son called me right after that, and the next thing he said was, ‘Hey, I think I’m going to die,’” J.R. said.

With poor cell service, he had no idea what he was walking into until he got home and saw the destruction.

“I’m very sad, I’ve been crying. Me and my boys, lights were flickering like ten minutes before we came into [what was] my work office,” said Isa, J.R.’s wife.

“They all got into this closet. I’m kind of surprised how they fit in here because there were a lot of clothes… I told my oldest [13 years old], ‘You did the right thing.’ Not a lot of kids your age would’ve thought about doing that,” J.R. said.

On Wednesday, Judge Lina Hidalgo surveyed the damage and held a press conference outside of the Aguilars’ ravaged home.

“We’re working to request aid from the federal government. At minimum, in terms of low-interest loans. SBA loans for small businesses and for residents,” Hidalgo said.

In addition to connecting those in need with resources, Hidalgo says she’s also looking into other ways the county could offer support.

As for the Aguilars, they’re counting their blessings.

“Material things we can replace. Human life we can not. So thank God. I praise God that my family made it out safe and that we had no fatalities throughout this whole storm,” J.R. said.

The Aguilars are hoping their insurance can help make their house a livable home again.

On another note, Hidalgo is warning about shady contractors looking to price gouge. She recommends getting multiple quotes for repairs and reporting anyone looking to take advantage of the situation to county officials.

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