Tuscaloosa remembers deadly tornado that claimed 53 lives 9 years later

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Nine years ago, an EF-4 massive tornado destroyed much of the city of Tuscaloosa and claimed 53 lives.  

On this somber anniversary, many like Pastor Kelvin Croom are remembering those who lost their lives. The Alberta pastor lost his church on April 27 after the storm destroyed the building.  He is the pastor of College Hill Missionary Baptist Church. The facility has since been rebuilt.

“It was devastating for us, I knew the church was going to have to be rebuilt. I didn’t know what to do or how to do it other than go to the Lord. And God brought people into our lives to help us,” Croom said.

More than 5,000 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in the city that day.  Mayor Walt Maddox says the good news is that many new homes and businesses have been rebuilt and the recovery effort continues. But on this day, Maddox says his thoughts are with the victims.

“Today my thoughts are with the families. The 53 families who lost someone. The 5,300 property owners who lost their business and their homes and their church. You can’t help be feel those sad memories of that day,” Mayor Maddox said.

Pastor Croom tells CBS 42 he will never forget the day the tornado caused so much destruction. He says the experience has made his church stronger. 

“Our mission right now is to continue to preach the word, but more importantly, live the word. Let your light so shine before men so they can see your good works and glorify the father which is in Heaven,” Croom said.

About 253 people died statewide during the outbreak as dozens of tornadoes swept across Alabama, and some entire cites were nearly leveled.


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