FULTONDALE, Ala. (WIAT) — Families who survived an EF-3 tornado in Fultondale Monday returned to look for lost pets and other precious belongings Tuesday morning.
Climmie “D” Bradley and his brother Jeffery huddled together in their family home.
“We just went to a corner of the house and just prayed,” said Jeffrey Bradley.
The house has been in the family for generations and was in one of the hardest hit neighborhoods near New Castle Road.
The Bradley’s told CBS 42 they felt blessed to be alive; especially after learning about the death of a 14-year-old who lived just down the road.
“God bless their soul,” Climmie Bradley said.
While the Bradley’s home received major damage to the roof and walls, their next door nephew’s was destroyed.
Loud rain first kept the brothers from hearing their family member’s cry for help.
“It just went calm and I could hear it, like somebody had his hand over his mouth and he was just saying, ‘help me’, and I followed it until I got to him, dug stuff off, he had a bunch of gashes,” said Climmie Bradley.
Bradley’s nephew was taken to UAB hospital for his injuries, but has since been released and is with family members.
“It just overwhelmed me because the home is gone and everything but we had no idea he would be alive until we came up out the rain,” said Jeffrey Bradley.
Both Jeffrey and Climmie Bradley thanked the first responders, who continued to arrive throughout the night Monday and into Tuesday.
Every home in Bradley’s neighborhood is damaged. Some were destroyed by trees or debris. Others are missing a roof or walls. EF-3 tornadoes can have peak wind speeds of around 150 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Birmingham.
A few doors down, Patti Herring and her husband’s home has an American flag draped over the outside of a broken window. While some inside rooms like the kitchen seem untouched, there is no roof overhead.
“Devistated. Everything we have,” said Herring.
The couple is thankful to be alive. Herring said they huddled in a bathtub that is now covered in debris. They emerged to a home that was hardly recognizable.
“Hard to believe. Everything you work for your whole life,” said Herring.
As she sifted through her belongings, she had one particular memento in mind.
“My mom passed away over a year ago and I really want to find her prayer beads that would mean alot,” said Herring.
While Herring was upset about the damage, she said she felt thankful her family made it through the storm.
She is missing one of her cats and continues to hold onto hope that the other will return.
Power remained out for thousands in the area. Cleanup crews and volunteers were out Tuesday and beginning the first steps on the long road to recovery.