WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) – Trees we’re snapped and some were uprooted. A tornado ripped through the heart of Fruitdale tearing apart homes in its path Wednesday morning.
“It started sounding like a train coming. All we had time to do was just get in the bathtub and pray. We just in the tub and started praying and the Lord left us here,” said Rosetta Kirksey.
Jeresa Loper, her husband and their 7-month-old daughter Hadley ran for cover in a mobile home as the winds picked up just before 3 a.m.
“All I knew to do was grab her and run to the kitchen and get up under the table. By the time he went and there trying to find us it was already happening. Stuff flying everywhere. The trailer was shaking. It was just awful. It was awful,” explained Loper.
Fruitdale High School took a direct hit from the storm. The metal agricultural building on campus was torn apart piece by piece. Parts of the school’s gym were also damaged. The tight-knit community pulled together Wednesday as the long cleanup process begins.
“I was just praying that I’d be able to see daylight and fortunately I did live through it. When something like that happens and the building you’re in is shaking and trembling you just feel fear and that’s what I felt was fear,” said Sandra Hill.
Luckily, no one was injured.
Fruitdale Superintendent Lisa Connell released a statement to News 5:
The Fruitdale Agricultural building sustained the most damage. It will have to be rebuilt. The gym and the cafeteria had minor damage, but nothing that would keep us from being able to use them once the HVAC unit is repaired or replaced. The softball batting facility was a total loss, the fence surrounding the softball field will need to be replaced, and the backstop will need to be replaced. The remaining K-12 buildings have some shingles and siding missing in a few places, but for the most part these buildings sustained very little damage. All of the awnings were destroyed and will have to be replaced.
It was difficult to see as the sun rose this morning, but all of the above can be replaced. Children cannot. We were blessed for this to happen at the time that it did and not during school hours. The communities of Fruitdale and Tibbie were also very blessed because all of my updates have reported no injuries or deaths.