As soon as Hollowell knew what was happening, he put into action an emergency response plan and made sure that everyone was led to an area of the store with no windows and away from where the tornado was about to hit. They had mere seconds to rush everyone to that location as the tornado ripped through the store, causing screams from everyone as they heard the steel roof being torn off the building.
More than 100 people had been shopping in the store when the tornado hit with no warning in the store, which is located about 40 miles south of Raleigh, NC. The local police say that the Lowes manager and his employees are heroes and are responsible for saving all of those lives. The police went thru all of the debris in the store afterwards, and found absolutely no one injured or killed in it thanks to Hollowell and his workers.
The store was nearly totally destroyed in the front, with about two-thirds of it gone or crushed beyond belief. Cars in the parking lot were scattered and overturned as well and other businesses nearby were also badly damaged. The storm also damaged 100s of homes in the area.
Hollowell said he had known there were severe weather warnings that day, but didn’t realize the tornado was hitting the store until he saw people running towards the back of the store. He knew that the safest part of the store was the back, which had joined concrete walls and no heavy items stored on the shelves that could fall and hurt or kill someone. They had learned earlier that it was the place to go for an emergency through a planned emergency procedure that ended up saving everyone’s lives.
He said that they could see the tornado right across the street so he and his workers had everyone headed to the safe zone in seconds, and it was just in time. Hollowell said he wasn’t a hero, he was just doing his job and that the safety exercise was what saved everyone, along with the fast thinking of his team of employees.