Fultondale teachers search through rubble to help tornado victims

Local News

FULTONDALE, Ala. (WIAT) — Fultondale will have a long road of recovery ahead of them, as several homes and buildings were destroyed in the EF-3 tornado.

Now, a Fultondale family is now leaning on their community to get through the loss of their home and their 14-year-old son, Elliott Arizaga Hernandez.

Photo of Elliott Arigaza Hernandez. Courtesy of GoFundMe

Family friends said the Arizaga Hernandez family is staying with other family and friends in Birmingham. The father, Oscar Arizaga is still in the hospital, receiving treatment for his injuries. The mother, Saraid Hernandez, was released from the hospital.

Their home is entirely destroyed. On Wednesday, Fultondale teachers went to the home to sort through the rubble and salvage whatever they could for the family.

Patricia Taylor taught Elliott when he was in fourth grade. She said she remembers him as a great student and person.

“He was a very sweet child,” said Taylor. “Was always doing what he was supposed to be doing. Willing to help others, was silly, always laughing. He was just an all-around good kid.”

Taylor and other teachers were asked to try to find car keys, as a few of the families cars were still usable. In what seemed like a needle in the haystack mission, the teachers found two pairs of keys.

When asked how she explains these tragedies to students, Taylor said they do what they always do.

“Well, we just love on them,” she said. “Give them what they need and love on them. They need that safe and secure feeling from us because they see us every day.”

Family friends of the Arigaza Hernandez family said they are still in shock, processing all they’ve lost.

If you’d like to donate to the family, click here or here.


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