Eight people survive Mississippi tornado by hiding inside a bar’s walk-in fridge

A group of restaurant workers in Mississippi survived a tornado by huddling in a walk-in freezer, according to the restaurant's owner.

The walk-in fridge was all that was left standing of the restaurant after the storm blew through.

The eight survivors were at Chuck's Dairy Bar in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, when the storm hit, according to USA Today.

Tracey Harden, 48, owns the bar, and told the paper that she and her husband, Tim was among the eight who rode out the storm in a freezer.

The Hardens and a group of both customers and employees sought shelter at the diner during the nighttime storm.

“All of a sudden the lights flickered and somebody hollered, ‘Cooler!’ And my husband opened the cooler door and started shoving us in,” she said, noting that her husband Tim had to fight against the high wind to pull the door shut behind him.

She said that before he fully got the door closed he could see the sky, as the winds had torn the roof off the restaurant.

“Just before it shut, he looked up and he said, ‘I see the sky,’ so that let us know that this was way worse than anything we could have imagined,” she told Good Morning America. “And the roof was gone.”

Debris is what remains from a house destroyed by the Friday night tornado in Rolling Folk, Miss., on Sunday morning, March 26, 2023. The area is quiet after families, friends and neighbors spent most of Saturday trying to salvage their possessions. The tornado was part of a system of severe weather that moved through several southern states causing death and destruction. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Ms Harden said everyone who rode out the storm in the cooler made it out uninjured.

One of the customers hiding in the diner, Carolyn Washington, told GMA that she rode out the storm inside the bathroom. Once the winds had subsided, she climbed out of the room only to find a truck had been dropped practically on top of her.

“I looked up and there was a truck on top of the bathroom,” she said. “I panicked a little bit and I found my way out and I yelled for help and someone came over and helped me.”

Unfortunately for the Hardens, their restaurant did not fare as well. The couple bought the diner 16 years ago, and it had become a favorite watering hole for the locals in Rolling Fork.

By the time the storm dissipated, the restaurant had been reduced to rubble.