Washington couple rides out storm

By Denise Jackson

November 20, 2013 Updated Nov 27, 2013 at 3:29 PM CDT

WASHINGTON,Ill. --A shopping trip for a birthday gift almost turned deadly for a Washington couple Sunday.

In their frantic effort to get home Dustin and Kirsten Essig came in close proximity with that EF-4 tornado.

All that's left is the basement of Dustin and Kirsten Essig 3,300 square foot home.

While some of the furniture remains in tact Sunday's tornado hurled a vehicle into the basement wall.

It's here where their 11 year-old son, Winston, huddled into this enclosed corner with his brother and sister, as mom and dad raced to try and get home.

"I said to the twins just pray to God that we live and it's a miracle cause the house started shaking and I could hear the crashing and smashing of everything. It really is a miracle," Winston said.

Dustin, his wife and son were stuck in their vehicle unable to turn down Coventry Drive. Instead, they drove to a neighbor's home.

"As soon as I turned into that driveway that whole side window caved in everything pummeled into my my wife and I just put our bodies over our 8 year-old's head and rode the storm out," he said.

A cell phone picture shows what's left of the couple car.

"It's just absolutely surreal as you look around I just can't believe that this happened. I feel so blessed that my kids are alive," Kirsten said.

Despite the huge loss the couple says they're just grateful to be alive and able to celebrate their twin children's birthday this week.