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Rainsville community members speak after EF-1 tornado

WHNT News 19
WHNT News 19
 2021-12-31

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RAINSVILLE, Ala. – Luckily, no injuries were reported from a confirmed EF-1 tornado that damaged parts of Rainsville, but there was damage to be seen to power lines, trees, businesses, and even homes.

Kenneth Wooten and his family have lived in Rainsville for more than 50 years. He says they’ve made it through damaging winds in the past, but this hit was the closest to home yet.

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“It was over the house. It literally was sucking up on the house. My family got into the downstairs bathroom, and I dove under the pool table. when it was coming over, it was terrible,” Wooten said.

He expected to walk upstairs and see the roof of his house torn off. Instead, the roof of a recently purchased 20×30 foot weather shed for his RV outback was strewn across his yard, flying up and over his own home and even some landing across the street at the Bluescope Steel plant.

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The plant employees were also running for safety.

“We have a system there that alerts with storm and weather and all that. Everybody went to the shelter and waited it out,” employee Alvin Matthews said. “The building, it was very shaky. You could tell there was a tornado on top of us. It was pretty scary at the time.”

No one was injured at the plant, but Bluescope is working at about 90% capacity after getting damage to their roof and breakroom.

“We already have repairs underway. Our builder’s on-site already tearing some stuff off and redoing it — our break room — it had sucked the door open, sucked some tiles out so we’re in the process of repairing that as well. We’re going to temporarily fix our roof and then we’re going to fix it permanently when we can assess the damage,” Operations Manager David Volk said.

By early next week, Volk said he expects they’ll be repaired enough to return to full-capacity work.

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In the meantime, those in the community are helping each other patch things up too.

“I thank the good Lord everybody’s okay,” Wooten said.

The Rainsville police department says it’s already seen a number of people stepping up to help their neighbors.

Police say for anyone wanting to help with donations, to drop them off at the farmers market off Ledbetter Lane, or reach out to the Dekalb County EMA at 256-845-8569.

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