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Windsor approaches 10th anniversary of deadly tornado

WINDSOR, Colo. -- The town of Windsor is approaching the 10th anniversary of a deadly tornado that killed one person and caused $125 million in property damage to homes.

On May 22, 2008 the tornado roared through town around mid-day. John Vazquez had been Mayor of Windsor for five weeks when the tornado hit.

"All in total it was in town for about 15 minutes and the rest as they say, 'is kind of history.' It changed everyone’s life really fast," said Vazquez.

Santiago Nino and his family survived in their crawl space, as the tornado ripped through.

"We got into the crawl space and then all heck broke lose. I could hear the big roar of the tornado and it kept lifting up the basement door on me and it seemed like my house was lifting up," said Nino.

Since then, he said he watches the sky closely when weather rolls in.

"That was the most scariest thing I have gone through in my entire life is that tornado," said Nino. "I don’t want it to happen again. You really can’t do anything about it."

Vazquez said after the tornado, the town set a goal of making sure all residents who lost their homes were back in a home by Christmas. While it was a lofty goal, Vazquez said they accomplished it. Still, it was challenging for people to bounce back, especially those whose homes were under insured.

"It was a split. A lot of the community was under water, under insured and half was kind of like, 'we can rebuild a house, we can replace a truck' so the important things are in check," said Vazquez.

Nino said there are still signs of the tornado in the community. His son "caught" a bicycle tire in Windsor Lake. Nino said debris still remains in the lake after the tornado passed over it.

"They did some cleaning but there is still a lot, a lot of stuff in the lake," said Nino.

Vazquez said the experience has reinforced for him that Windsor is a terrific community.

"You see how people respond when their neighbors are in need and signs of absolute duress and I know 100 percent I wouldn't want to raise a family anywhere else but here," said Vazquez. "I don’t worry about what’s going to happen if something challenges this community because I know this community can step up to the challenge."

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