JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Saturday marks 25 years since an EF-5 tornado destroyed 1,000 homes, injured 250 people and killed 32.
Margaret Mason, a Rock Creek Resident, told CBS 42 the tornado that hit the town 25 years ago was the worst storm in her lifetime.
She and her family weren’t home when the storm passed through the town, but they didn’t know if they would have a home to return to.
“The roads weren’t passable with all the debris in the road me,” Mason said. “My daughter and I just parked our car and walked about three miles to our house. We didn’t know if our house was still standing, so we had to climb over rooftops and trees to get there.”
She said she and her family were fortunate to have a home to return to despite losing many homes and lives in the area.
“There were like 20-something people killed here in Rock Creek,” Mason said. “I can’t remember the exact number, but some of them didn’t build back.”
Concord resident David Anderson was a first responder who helped those impacted by the tornado.
“It was hard to tell where anything was because there were no markers, the trees were gone and the street signs were gone,” Anderson said.
His son Philip now owns a barbershop where the tornado left destruction. Several areas have also been rebuilt over time.
The tornado also made towns like Oak Grove more proactive before storms come, building a storm shelter for residents’ safety. Residents in Jefferson County said they’ll never forget this storm.
“We’ll always remember, and we’ll always remember those lives lost in the storm,” Anderson said.
“It’s changed everyone’s perspective on life, and all we’ve seen with the tornadoes lately, we just pray it never happens again here,” Mason said.
There are several memorials to remember the lives lost by the tornado.