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How $4,000 spent in 2001 topped a tornado and saved a Canton couple’s lives

CANTON, TX -- What price would you put on your life?

Pretty tough, right?

For 71-year-old Ron Seale and his wife Lois, it was answered in some sense Saturday night.

"Cost us just a little better than $4,000," Ron Seale said, looking around his custom-made, underground storm shelter.

That was the price of the Seales' storm bunker back in 2001. It was a steep sell for the retired sweet potato farmer, at least until an EF3 tornado included them in its 51-mile path of destruction.

"I raised the door and came out, and here's what I saw," Seale said, looking out over his land littered with the remains of his buildings. "If we'd have been in the double wide, we'd be history."

What's left of their home is a twisted metal base, shards of wood, and shredded electronics.

"This is where the double wide was," Seale said, motioning toward a dirt pad covered in cement blocks. "Now it's across the road over there in the neighbors' pasture."

The double wide mobile home ended up nearly 200 yards away, the building over their shelter is just walls and blown out windows, and their livestock barn is about half its former self.

Seale says it's a miracle his eight cows and a horse survived.

The only miracle for him, his wife, and their two dogs was that they made the decision to install their bunker all those years ago.

"It means it saved our lives," he said.

With at least four others who didn't survive the storm, no one was taking that for granted.