Tornado destroys Canton venue hours before HS prom

A tornado destroyed The Rustic Barn -- a popular prom venue -- in Canton, Texas on Saturday, April 29, 2017. (KETK)
A tornado destroyed The Rustic Barn -- a popular prom venue -- in Canton, Texas on Saturday, April 29, 2017. (KETK)

CANTON, Texas (KETK) — An evening meant to be spent in celebration turned into chaos as a tornado ripped through a prom venue in Canton.

Reagan Sumner, owner of the Rustic Barn venue off of FM 1255 in Canton, said two tornadoes hit his property at about 4:45 p.m. Saturday evening.

“I own about 400 acres,” he explained. “And you can tell where it all went through.”

He was at his home just a few hundred yards away from the venue, when a tornado tore through his garage, missing his home by inches.

“We looked in the sky to the south and we could see twisting in the tree line. We didn’t even know the first tornado was going to hit, because we didn’t get the alert until right before. So the barn gets destroyed, and that’s when we came down here when the second one hit.”

Around 20 people, including young children, were inside the venue setting up the Edgewood High School prom, which was planned to take place around 7 p.m. Saturday night.

As the tornado tore through, everyone became trapped inside, taking cover in bathrooms and closets.

“We got the kids and the parents and we got them in the bathroom. We put a few inside the closet,” Sumner said. “Then me and another dad went out to close the barn doors. We came back where I hid in a bathroom with my back covered. The pressure I had against my back and the door. I knew when the roof went because of all the insulation on the floor — just a very loud and scary moment.”

Everything except the shelter where the 20 people were huddling was destroyed.

For Sumner, the venue was a place to enjoy retirement. Now it’s a memory of survival.

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