HENRYVILLE — Shaan Sangh put one hand in front of the other as he crawled from the wreckage of the Marathon gas station and adjoining Subway restaurant.
After nearly 10 seconds of lying motionless in the rubble as the world whirled above him, the operator and lease-holder of the business found his arms and face covered in blood. Three of the building’s walls were destroyed, and its roof was gone — swept away by the massive EF-4 tornado on March 2, 2012.
The winds subsided, the temperature dropped and softball-sized hail began to fall from the clouds as Sangh raised himself up and went to check on the welfare of the nine people who took shelter in his business.
“It is a day I will never forget,” Sangh said nearly a year later while standing inside the Subway portion of the newly rebuilt and sparkling clean building.
Sangh, a native of India, opened the dual business three years before the tornado. The structure sits on top of a hill, directly off the interstate and looks down upon the community’s school buildings.
It had been a typical Friday afternoon at the business until about 3:15 p.m., as Sangh and other employees watched in awe as a massive funnel cloud formed in the sky and winds began to grow in force.
Sangh said regular customers, those who had sought refuge from the open interstate and employees gathered in his business as it became evident the storm was going to hit in the area.
“Some people were in the mechanical room, others were in the bathroom and under the [Subway] prep table,” Sangh said.
He took action by turning off the building’s lights and locking its doors.
After everyone had taken shelter, Sangh and another employee stood behind a large window in the restaurant area. He said as he looked outside he saw trash cans floating in the wind like discarded paper. A moment later, Sangh was struck by an unknown object that pushed him back nearly 15 feet to the counter of the sandwich shop.