Allyson Bird // The Post and Courier
Behind Craig Robinson is all that is left of Refuge Temple of St. Stephen, where he was cleaning when Saturday's tornado struck. Robinson fell to his knees and asked for mercy as the building collapsed around him.
ST. STEPHEN -- Craig Robinson heard the wind turn violent outside Refuge Temple of St. Stephen, where he cleans up every Saturday afternoon to prepare for the next morning's services.
Curious, the 50-year-old Moncks Corner resident made his way from the sanctuary to the front of the church. That's when he saw the tornado outside.
"I bent down on my knees and asked the Lord to have mercy," Robinson said, standing before the wood, brick and glass remains of Refuge Temple on Saturday evening. Shortly after he began his prayer, he heard the roof collapse and, over the next five minutes or so, nearly everything around him turned to rubble while he stayed on the floor.
The twister, which touched down in Berkeley County shortly before 5:30 p.m., also split a mobile home in half and damaged a store in the park and trees on nearby streets.
No one suffered any serious injuries from the storm, according to Lt. Stacy Harris with the St. Stephen Fire Department.
Looking toward the church, Harris said, "It's a brick building. If I were here in a tornado, I'd run in there."
Robinson joined the church nine years ago, attracted to it by the worship services. Standing in the grass in front of what remained of it, he said, "Things look rough here, but I give God the glory."
Just a few hundred yards away, Samantha Humbert gathered with friends near the light blue mobile home where she lived, snapped like a pencil by the tornado. She and her two children, 6-year-old Karl and 4-year-old Olivia, had been driving when the storm hit, and they saw downed trees along nearby roads.
"We even stopped and asked if they needed help directing traffic around the trees, not knowing our house was destroyed," Humbert said.
Shortly after she pulled up to the damage, a friend came by and took her children away so they wouldn't have to look at what remained of the place they've called home for the past year.
"They went all to pieces," Humbert said. Hours later, she herself still wasn't ready to peer inside and see what she could salvage.