• 77°
franklin county times

Level of storm’s destruction is shocking

Journalists are always looking for a compelling story and crave breaking news, but few if any want to cover events like the tornado outbreak that struck Alabama Wednesday afternoon.

Witnessing the death and destruction and relaying the stories to the public is a difficult task, although it is nothing in comparison to the problems of the people who lost family members, their homes or both.

I have witnessed the power of major storms before — I lived in Huntsville in 1989 when a tornado ripped through the town killing 22 people.

I was in Orlando in 2004 when Hurricane Charley made its way across Florida.

Neither of these storms seemed to produce the damage I witnessed in Hackleburg when I went there Thursday to document the damage for today’s edition of The Franklin County Times.

As I approached the town the damage did not seem too bad, but then I saw the Wrangler plant. The big building was reduced to a pile of rubble.

I proceeded down the road and parked my car in the shopping center that once housed the Piggly Wiggly and Dollar General. Walking up to what remained of the building made me speechless.

I figured brick buildings with metal frames would be a safe haven from tornados, but the stores were demolished like a child who kicked over a creation he made with Lincoln Logs.

Walking down U.S. 43 I took several photos of homes shredded to pieces, foundations with no sign of the buildings they belonged to and debris that was very much out of place such as a basketball goal 60 yards from the nearest house.

As I made my way down the road to the school I couldn’t help but notice the town smelled like a lumber yard because of all the trees snapped in half.

It was tough to see the destruction, and I do not have any friends or family living in Hackleburg. I can’t imagine the emotions people who have family living there have experienced since the storm.

As I made my way through the town and witnessed the devastation first hand, I doubted if the town of Hackleburg would ever exist again. Then I noticed how the residents were reacting.

Instead of walking around in a daze – which they have every right to do — the people of Hackleburg were busy picking up the pieces and moving forward.

It was an inspiring sight to behold and made me realize some of the problems going on in my life are insignificant in comparison.

I will never forget what I experienced in Hackleburg Thursday. I wish the residents well in their quest to rebuild and move ahead.

News

Phil Campbell swears in new councilman

Franklin County

Fall brings Pumpkin Palooza, NW-SCC trunk-or-treat event

Franklin County

Hodges festival promises food, fun, fireworks

Franklin County

Distinguished Through the Decades: 2008, Paige Palmer Thorne

Franklin County

Commission passes budget, shows support for two state amendments

Galleries

PHOTOS: Russellville Homecoming Court

Franklin County

PHOTOS: Tharptown Homecoming Court

Franklin County

NW-SCC public relations wins seven statewide awards

Franklin County

Phil Campbell City Council fills vacant seat

Features

Taste of Franklin: Flavors of fall

News

Red Bay celebrates Founders Day with plenty of entertainment for all

Franklin County

FCS bus driver faces arrest, termination

Franklin County

County seeks responses to broadband survey

Franklin County

NW-SCC reports highest fall enrollment since 2010 

Features

View from Crescent Moon Acres: How one New Jersey woman found her dream life in Phil Campbell

Franklin County

Franklin County 4-H rabbit project participants bring home awards

News

ADEM approves $348M for water, sewer projects

Franklin County

Extension warns: Harvest time means taking extra safety precautions

News

City approves line-of-credit bid from VSB for equipment purchases

News

Russellville Electric Board elects officers

News

RHS Marching Hundred hosts Northwest Alabama Classic

News

RCS BOE approves budget for FY-2023

Franklin County

FCS BOE passes budget

News

Red Bay plans annual Founders Day festival Sept. 24

x