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Heath Mullins of Fredericksburg, Va., says emergency plan saved lives during violent storm

4:49 PM, Jul 11, 2012   |    comments
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FREDERICKSBURG,  Va. (WUSA) - " I saw the ceiling come down and the 30 foot wall coming straight at me," recalled Heath Mullins, 38, about getting crushed by cinder blocks.

He was caught in a building collapse Sunday night when a microburst hit Fredericksburg. The roof blew off and the walls came down.

Mullins has had two surgeries to repair nerve damage in his right hand and his shattered knee. He also has two cracked vertebrae, two broken toes and a broken ankle. But he considers himself lucky to be alive.

He and his wife had been watching their daughter's cheerleading practice at the Cheer Fusion Gym. Fifteen cheerleaders had been practicing stunts when the storm hit. Mullins and his wife had been monitoring the storm when suddenly it turned violent.

"It looked like a whiteout. Visibility was zero. I yelled, 'Everybody go, now!' " he said.

All the children and most of the other adults ran into the only room that's still standing, which is made of concrete and steel.

It wasn't just quick thinking and luck. They knew that that room was the safest place to be. Mullins says, it was part of Cheer Fusion's Emergency plan,  a plan everyone knew.

"We had a plan and everybody listened. Nobody argued," said Mullins' wife Jamie.

After getting everyone he could, including his daughter and wife into the saferoom, Health Mullins was trapped outside by the collapsing walls.

"I've never cried so hard. My mom was holding me so tight, she left bruises on my arm, but that's OK."

For Anika and Jamie Mullins, relief came soon, when they saw Heath, beat up, but alive and talking. He's just glad he was the one out there...and not the girls.

"If those girls hadn't been in there, they would've been crushed," said Mullins.

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