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Story about man who died while saving others in 2011 Joplin tornado resurfaces

Posted: 10:56 AM, Jun 27, 2016
Updated: 2016-06-27 18:03:14Z

A heartbreaking story about a man who lost his life while trying to save others during the Joplin tornado is making rounds on the internet, five years later. 

Out of the vault:  Read the original story, published in May 2011, here.

On May 24, 2011, 41 Action News told the tragic story of Christopher Lucas.

The Pizza Hut manager who saved many lives, including his employee Daniel Fluhart, when a tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri. 

"The only reason we survived is because he held the door shut, with a strap," Fluhart said in a 2011 interview. 

With wind speeds topping 300 mph, Lucas saved three employees and 15 customers while holding onto the door of the freezer.

"As soon as I saw the door slip, I grabbed [Lucas]," said Fluhart. "And then, when everything blew away, he was gone. The door was gone. Everything."

A few days after the devastating story, 41 Action News spoke to Lucas' girlfriend Brooke Praytor, who was pregnant with his third child.

"He just had a general care for everybody," Praytor said in a 2011 interview. "It's part of his connection to God."

She recalled the last time she spoke to Lucas: "I'm going to bring you home a pizza, I love you with my whole heart," she said he told her.

On June 26, the story was picked up by  Reddit  in the "Today I learned" section. The post received several thousand comments.