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Broken Arrow Family Makes Tough Choice To Raze Tornado-Ravaged Home

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A Broken Arrow family made the tough decision to tear down its tornado-damaged home this week. A Broken Arrow family made the tough decision to tear down its tornado-damaged home this week.
The Russell family was one of the hardest hit after an EF2 touched down in Broken Arrow on May 30. The Russell family was one of the hardest hit after an EF2 touched down in Broken Arrow on May 30.
"It's kind of sad. It's kind of bittersweet," Belinda Russell said. "You know, sad that's it's gone, but happy that it's going to be a new beginning." "It's kind of sad. It's kind of bittersweet," Belinda Russell said. "You know, sad that's it's gone, but happy that it's going to be a new beginning."
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -

A Broken Arrow family made the tough decision to tear down its tornado-damaged home this week. The path of the May 30 twister was almost 6 miles long and uprooted many lives.

The Russell family has only a concrete slab left.

With a new home, the Russell's plan to build an even safer place to ride out severe storms.

"It's kind of sad. It's kind of bittersweet," Belinda Russell said. "You know, sad that's it's gone, but happy that it's going to be a new beginning."

The Russell family was one of the hardest hit after an EF2 touched down in Broken Arrow.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

Osage Sky News 6 took aerial footage the morning after the twister, even capturing Ron Russell on his roof picking up debris.

"You never think it's going to happen to you, and when it does, you're just kind of in shock for a while," Ron Russell said.

The Russell's insurance company has been helpful with the claim, but the family decided to tear down its dream home.

"It had just become disgusting and unlivable," Belinda said. "The carpet was molded, the walls were molded [and] falling down. The ceilings had already fallen down."

It was tough for the family to see the house where 15 years of memories were made be wiped away in an afternoon.

The Russell's are leaning on their faith to pull them through.

"Keep going. Keep moving forward," Belinda said. "You can't ponder on what's happened and what's in the background. You have to focus on how God is going to help us to go forward."

The family sought shelter in a small area in May.

The new home calls for a stronger, larger basement for the next time they seek shelter – in their new dream home.

"It's kind of a milestone where we can start a new beginning," Ron said.

The family said Wagoner County waived the Russell's demolition fees because they were tornado victims.

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