Sawyerville residents picking up the pieces after Feb. 3 tornado

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Karris Harmon

One dead. Eight injured. More than 20 homes destroyed. Sixty more severely damaged. But Sawyerville residents who survived the Feb. 3 EF2 tornado are already focused on what’s next: Rebuilding.

District 72 State Rep. Ralph Howard, who represents the area, said recovery efforts are already under way.

“We’re just trying to make sure everyone in the community is taken care of, from tarps to getting the lights back on,” Howard said Friday. “They’re feeding the people and we’re just out here to make sure that everyone is taken care of.”

Hale County Emergency Management Agency Director Russell Weeden said most of the homes with the worst damage were mobile homes. There’s a reason for that.

“A site-built home is more structurally sound than a mobile home,” Weeden said. “We tell everybody, please don’t stay in your mobile homes during a tornado warning and if you don’t have a safer place to go, at least go to a site-built home.”

The American Red Cross arrived the day after the tornado, and they’re offering displaced residents temporary housing, food, clothing and other necessities.

Sawyerville resident Gloria Doss, who said her house was badly damaged, said the Red Cross has been a great help so far. She and her family are encouraging everyone to stay strong.

“Take it one day at a time like we are,” said Doss. “Lives are precious. Material things can be replaced so we’re not in a hurry to do anything, we’re just happy that everyone made it out okay and everyone’s alive.”

Weeden said the EMA and other agencies are coming up with a plan to get recovery efforts going full-swing within the next two to three weeks.

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