FULTONDALE, Ala. (WIAT) — Strong storms that swept through Central Alabama Monday night and into early Tuesday morning caused severe structural damage to Fultondale High School.
Fultondale experienced the brunt of the storm, as a tornado wreaked havoc on structures throughout the city, including homes, a Hampton Inn, and the local high school.
Tuesday morning crews began removing debris, like tree limbs, from around the heavily-damaged school. Many windows were blown out, and the school’s roof was damaged. The football and baseball fields, including the press box, are now in disrepair.
Fultondale High School, along with other Jefferson County schools, closed Tuesday as a result of the damage.
In a press conference Tuesday morning, Jefferson County District 4 Commissioner Joe Knight said the school’s 650 students who were physically attending the school would need to be relocated. The city “may just have to rebuild” the school, he said.
GALLERY: Damage at Fultondale High School following tornado
Knight and other city officials are urging the public to “stay away” so as to assist first responders in the area to continue search and rescue operations and debris removal.
“They have checked every one of the structures that we marked off, did it very methodically,” Knight said. “We have two rescue teams on the hotel that collapsed.”
Knight says the Newcastle neighborhood, where “a young man perished,” was the hardest hit by the tornado. As of 12:25 p.m. we have not confirmed his identity or any additional fatalities.