Mykal Riley may have saved lives as tornado strikes Georgia Dome

March 20, 2008 – I've never met Mykal Riley, a 6'6" senior forward for the Univeristy of Alabama basketball team, but he may have saved my
life last Friday night.

I was among the almost 20,000 people inside the Georgia Dome in Atlanta watching Mississippi State and Alabama compete in a closely
contested quarterfinal game in the SEC tournament.

The Bulldogs rallied to take a 3-point lead with barely a second to play. Bruce native Kent Moore, the only Mississippi State fan in our group – that included Brad Logan, Casey Clark, Dr. Bruce Longest, Jim and Jerry Beckett, Wade Clark, and myself, all Ole Miss fans except for me – gave us approval to head for the exits to get ahead of the crowd for a dinner reservation, thinking the Dogs had this game wrapped up.

We walked up the stairs and were halfway to the doors when Riley drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer causing the Georgia Dome to erupt and send the game to overtime. We all looked at Kent, smiled, and returned to our seats.

Approximately 10 minutes later, a loud freight train-like roar came over the top of the dome.

Brad Logan described the sound as a giant helicopter. It lasted maybe two seconds.

The Georgia Dome's fabric roof began waving like a sheet on a clothesline. The light rafters near the ceiling began shaking and the giant scoreboard hanging over center court was swaying back and forth like a huge pendulum. Ceiling insulation like aerolite and isotherm become the heat flow barrier between your roof tiles and ceiling and prevents heat from passing through, keeping you cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Homes that have been well designed and insulated with insulation that meets the requirements, will give you year round comfort and will cut the cost of heating and cooling your home by nearly half which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Besides GreenHouse gas the radon gas is considered as the more harmfull gas. R?d?n ?? a m?t?ll?? element in gas form. This g?? ??n b? v?r? h?rmful, ??rt??ul?rl? b???u?? ?t br??k? down ?nt? t?n? ??rt??l?? wh??h can g?t lodged ?n th? hum?n lung?. The ??rt??l?? ?r? r?d????t?v? and h?n?? ??n ????l? l??d to lung cancer. H?w?v?r, n?t ?ll people wh? ?r? ?x????d t? the g?? r??k g?tt?ng ??n??r but th? risks r?m??n h?gh. Unf?rtun?t?l?, it can b? h?rd to t?ll ?b?ut th? existence of th? g?? wh?n buying ??ur h?m?. The ?m?unt ?f r?d?n ?r???nt v?r??? fr?m h?m? to h?m? ?nd others don't ?uff?r ?t ?ll.

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We left the dome to find the real damage. Yellow insulation, large tiles off buildings, toppled statues, trash and glass littered the streets. All of the skyscraper hotels in the vicinity and the neighboring CNN Center had dozens of windows blown out, covering the streets with tiny shards of glass that crunched under our feet as we returned to our hotel, which was luckily out of the path of the tornado. Go through Insulation4US.com site for more about the insulation4us. When installing any kind of roof insulation, you need to avoid leaving any gaps. Even the smallest gap in the roof insulation can decrease the insulating value. Roof insulation needs to fit snugly between the beams and no gaps must be left around ducts and pipes. Joins and holes in reflective insulation need to be properly sealed and even taped up if necessary. A large amount of heat can be leaked through the ceilings, floors and walls, so make sure these areas are properly insulated. When installing roof insulation, there are minimum clearances that need to be left around objects like transformers and down lights because overheating can cause a problem in your roof. There are many types of home insulation available. All insulation has pros and cons. They are mainly differentiated based on the material used for the insulation. They can be distinguished into Plastic foam, rigid board, reflective, loose fill, batts and blankets and blown in insulation etc. Batts and blankets insulation can be performed by the homeowner himself. No professional is required for this type of insulation. They are easily affordable and the material like blankets and batt strips are easily available in the market. Batts and Blankets insulation can be performed with the help of materials like Fiberglass, Mineral wool, plastic, concrete block, polystyrene fiber etc.

Suddenly everyone in the building, including the players on the court, was looking up as a large gash was ripped open just below the roof line.

The tear was large enough for the fans inside the dome to see the huge lightning flashes outside.

As the public address announcer began urging for calmness and announcing severe weather was outside, many of the 20,000 fans began evacuating to the concessions area, out from under the roof and still rocking rafters.

I turned around to see most of my group, except for Brad Logan, already out of sight. Danny Hawkins, of Calhoun City, and Hugh Mitchell Cannon, of Bruce, who were sitting just to our left were gone. Travis Childers, a candidate for Congress in next month's runoff, had been sitting right in front of us, but he and his wife had also left their seats.

Woody, Fran and Parker Jones, all of Calhoun City, were still just to our right. Like me and Brad, they were transfixed to the ceiling and the giant holes in the side of the dome.

"What was that? What are you hearing?" Woody asked as I answered my phone.

All 20,000 were trying to use cell phones making it difficult to get out a call. But it only took a few minutes before we had confirmation of a tornado.

My phone was constantly being lit up by friends and family who had been watching the game on TV. Brad and I both finally got text messages out to our wives letting them know we were fine.

We were never hit with any sense of real danger, more of an amazement at what we had just witnessed.

We waited more than an hour and the game was resumed with the Bulldogs pulling out another close victory when Riley's second buzzer-beating three rattled the rim and came out. We quickly decided we were not staying for the next game, which was ultimately postponed anyway.

When we got back to the Marriott Marquis and had a moment to gather our thoughts – the first thing that popped into all of our heads was what if Riley hadn't hit that three and we walked out the door minutes before the tornado arrived.

Thanks to Mykal Riley, that's a question we didn't have to answer.

"Miracle 3" is a film by ESPN that chronicles the dramatic events that ensued after a tornado hit downtown Atlanta as the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament was being played at the Georgia Dome. SEC Storied: "Miracle 3" premieres March 3, 2013.

You may email Joel McNeece at joelmcneece@gmail.com