Alert Diamond teen praised for actions before tornado - FOX 35 News Orlando

Alert Diamond teen praised for actions before tornado

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Just before noon on Sunday, 14-year-old Natalie Benson of Diamond was inside a Coal City dance studio with 20 to 30 other young girls. When tornado warnings sounded, she shouted to get everyone's attention and then suggested they hurry to her parent's home to the basement. Within minutes, the girls were being driven there in a caravan and they safely rode out the storm.

"That studio doesn't have a basement. It's just a shed so it was probably the unsafest place for us to be at the moment," Benson tells FOX 32. "I don't really think I'm a hero, I just kind of said, I don't know, I just did. Just said let's all go to my house, it's the closest by."

The dance studio survived the twister, but dozens of homes in the nearby Diamond estates and Farmstone subdivisions lost roofs, upstairs bedrooms, and decks. Some homes were buried with the remnants of kitchens or garages from other, nearby homes.

"Well, this pad right here was an existing garage," homeowner David Biros points out. "It was a fixed garage, all insulated. I didn't see what happened, of course."

Biros also found shards of glass in his walls. But at least he won't lose his home, like Julie Vanek, who just moved in a couple of weeks ago.

"The whole side of the house is gone and the whole backsides gone, so, yeah," Vankek says, who believes she's going to lose her entire house.

Nearby homeowner David Wheet and his wife also believes their home will have to come down.

"It may have to come down," Wheet says. "The walls are tilted out on the side and in the back, so it may have to come down. But they're going to get us another place to live for a while and then we'll rebuild it."

But he's staying in good spirits.

"What do you do?" he says. "You can only take it as it comes and deal with what God gave you, right?"

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