Local Mom Has Baby Boy A Week After Tornado Destroys Home

Nearly a week after an EF-2 tornado ripped through Eastern Carolina, a pregnant woman who lost her home in the storm gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

Carla Van Essendelft, along with her husband Mark and their six kids, were inside their home on Beech Ridge Road when the tornado struck.

The family says they have countless people to thank, including first responders who brought Carla to Vidant Pungo Hospital.

"We were 30 seconds from all being dead," says Carla. "If the lord had not worked out every detail, we wouldn't be here today."

Carla was one of a dozen people taken to nearby Vidant Pungo Hospital in Belhaven.

The hospital was set to close just six days before the tornado, until a deal was reached to keep it open for at least three more months. Those at Belhaven Fire Rescue realize they would have had to take wounded people all the way to Washington or Greenville.

"We wouldn't have had the ambulances to haul the people to where they needed to go," says Phillip Reynolds.

Carla believes God knew what was coming.

"He knew what was needed," she explains. "They took great care of us."

A tornado relief fundraiser and auction is scheduled for Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. at High Tech Repair on Highway 264 in Belhaven. For more information, contact Samantha Selby at (252) 943-4389.


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