Matador tornado survivor put pillows on grandkids while huddled in bathroom as deadly twister destroyed home

Deana Washington and her family managed to get into their bathroom moments before a deadly tornado struck her neighborhood, leaving four others dead and a community in ruins.

MATADOR, Texas -- Survivors are still trying to pick up the pieces after a deadly tornado tore through the small town of Matador, Texas, on Wednesday evening.

Four people died, and nine others were injured as the twister devastated the town of just 571 people about 60 miles east-northeast of Lubbock.

One of those survivors was Deana Washington, whose family managed to get into a safe place moments before disaster struck.

"We were in the process of getting into the basement… we had a very old two-story house, and you had to go outside the house to get to the basement," Washington recalled. "And we started out, and my husband said, 'Oh! We can’t go out there!' "

They had a tarp along their backyard patio, and it was twisting.

"(He said) 'It's here! Go to our bathroom,'" Washington said.


The two scooped up their two visiting grandkids and got them into an interior bathroom.

"I told them to get into the bathtub and lie down," she said. "And I put king-size pillows on them, and I said, 'Oh God, you’ve got to protect us.'"

‘It was a devastating thing’

The tornado struck moments later, destroying much of their house and the surrounding neighborhood.

"We didn’t have anything, it was all gone," she said tearfully. "God protected us from that because all that stuff had to come over the top of us."

But four people in their community did not survive the terrible storm. Washington said a truck driver who wasn't very far from her house was killed in his truck. A second death occurred at a dollar store across from their home. A third person died just down the road.

The four killed in Matador on Wednesday brings the total number killed by tornadoes so far this year to 73. Eight of those were reported this past week alone, with three killed in Perryton, Texas, and one in Jasper County, Mississippi.

"It was a devastating thing that people didn’t survive through," Washington said.

But Washington is grateful for the support she has from her community.  Her husband works for a local ranch who was able to find temporary housing for their family.


"We work for incredible people, and we have an incredible family to come in and try to help us," she said. "But when you are left with nothing, God provides."

The National Weather Service in Lubbock has storm surveyors in the area assessing the damage and will eventually give the tornado a rating on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.