- A tornado struck Fultondale, Alabama, overnight.
- One person has been killed.
- Significant damage and injuries have been reported.
Multiple buildings, including a high school and a motel, were severely damaged when the tornado struck Fultondale, Alabama, about 10:40 p.m. CST Monday night.
The young man, possibly a teen, was trapped in the basement of his home where his family sought shelter as the storm roared overhead, Fultondale Police Chief D.P. Smith told AL.com. It looked as if a tree fell on the home, causing the house to collapse. Smith said some of the family members were seriously injured.
Fire Chief Justin McKenzie told WVTM that 17 people were taken to hospitals with storm-related injuries and 11 people were treated on the scene.
“There are still people trapped in their homes that we are trying to access at this time,” Fultondale Mayor Larry Holcomb told WIAT.
The storm cut a path across Fultondale and continued into eastern Jefferson County. It toppled trees, smashed buildings and flipped cars and trucks.
”It looks like a bomb went off,’’ Sam Moerbe told AL.com as he and his father Dave Moerbe looked over a neighborhood on Georgetown Lane.
“There are 45 homes in this community and all of them have some damage. … Debris is everywhere,’’ Dave Moerbe said. “We pulled one lady out of a back window because she couldn’t get out.”
Tony Leopard of Florida had just fallen asleep in Room 101 when the tornado ripped the roof off the Hampton Inn.
“I just got woken up from wind and debris hitting the bed,’’ he told AL.com. “It came through the windows. There was no power, no anything.”
In images from the scene it looked as if the entire second floor of the motel was destroyed. Guests were taken by bus to another hotel.
Jefferson County Emergency Management officials said about a dozen schools in the county will remain closed Tuesday.
Those officials are urging everyone to stay out of the Fultondale area because of debris and traffic clogging roads.
The National Weather Service says it will survey the damage to determine the tornado’s strength.
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