Community rebuilding after deadly tornado in Jefferson County

The people of Fultondale are focusing on rebuilding what has been destroyed after an EF-3 tornado killed a teenager and destroyed homes Monday night.

Posted: Jan 26, 2021 8:31 PM
Updated: Jan 26, 2021 8:57 PM

The people of Fultondale are focusing on rebuilding what has been destroyed after an EF-3 tornado killed a teenager and destroyed homes Monday night.

Around 30 people are injured following the tornado in Jefferson County.

A home severely damaged after being hit by an EF3 tornado.

The recovery phase is just beginning following several search and rescues.

The Fultondale Fire Department did their primary search and rescue through the night after the tornado hit. Multiple people were found and treated for injuries.

"People we're trapped. Utilize agencies around us to do some search and rescue. Treat patients that came to the station and ones that were at the hotels that were hit," said Justin McKenzie, Fultondale Fire Chief.

As the search started up again in the morning, more people were found trapped in the debris, but they will all be okay. The community will have to rebuild, though.

"We have volunteers coming to try and help us out. The recovery phase is a long and hard one. We've been there before back in 2011, so we kind of know what to expect," said McKenzie.

Many homes were damaged and destroyed, but in some areas, half the street showed minimal to no signs of damage. All day, though, people in the community were picking up debris and fixing what they can at their homes.

But, for some, there is nothing left.

"This is all left. This used to be a house," said Climmie Bradley, known as "D" in the community.

But all that remains is cinder blocks of the house next door where "D" Bradley's nephew was when the tornado hit.

"Walked on the porch and the wind just took off. It was dead calm and the wind just took off and never stopped."

But once the rain and wind subsided, "D" Bradley heard a cry of 'help.'

"I went back in and got a flashlight and it just went calm and I could hear him, like somebody had a hand over his mouth and he was just saying 'help.' And I followed it until I got to him," said "D" Bradley.

"But we were able to dig him out, thank God. My brother, younger brother "D" and myself," said Jeffrey Bradley.

Their nephew had several gashes, but the paramedics were able to help. He is resting with family after surviving the tornado.

The community in Jefferson County will work to repair immediate damage over the next several days.

The Fultondale Fire Department says you can bring water bottles, non-perishables and tarps to city hall to help out.

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