BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Members of Birmingham’s College Hills community are grieving the loss of two infants in the aftermath of a severe thunderstorm Thursday.
The two infants and an 11-year-old boy were rushed to Children’s of Alabama Hospital after the storms knocked down a tree onto their home Thursday evening. Birmingham Fire and Rescue tells CBS 42 that the 11-year-old sustained serious injuries.
According to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office, 3-month-old Jalaia Ford and 11-month-old Journee Jones died due to their injuries. The children along with two women were trapped under debris after the tree crashed into their home, severing it into two pieces.
Next-door neighbor Willie-Mae Crews said she knew something was wrong in the moments leading up to the incident.
“The wind picked up and I went to get a candle and to get a cup of tea, and I heard the loud noise,” said Crews. “And I said, ‘A tree has fallen.’ I knew it was a tree, but which one I don’t know.”
Crews would soon realize the tree that had fallen was next door and that her neighbors were trapped.
She says first responders arrived at the scene quickly and did not stop until all members present in the home were removed.
Crews opened her home to those involved who needed a place to stay. She says the other children were frustrated, scared and wet. Crews provided care and comfort as they waited for answers.
“We covered them with quilts so they would be warm and then I talked to them and said ‘I am here if you need me’,” said Crews.
Crews grieves for the family’s loss and says this tragedy has left a heavy impact on their community.
“It informs us all that we’re vulnerable and that now is the time that we have,” said Crews. “We need to care for each other and reach out to each other now.”
The conditions of the two women trapped in the debris are currently unknown. CBS 42 will update this story and others as more information becomes public.