FULTONDALE, Ala. (WIAT) — As tornado cleanup continues in Fultondale, debris piles are still keeping some family members from accessing what is left of their homes.
On Oak Street, most of the homes are unrecognizable. It’s the same street where 14-year-old Elliot Hernandez died after taking shelter with his family.
“They are wonderful people and kids were good kids,” said neighbor Timothy Vason.
Vason said the street is known as “the hill” and families are close knit. Many of the homes have been standing for decades.
“I can’t believe the houses are gone, because it is like family up here. We’ve been up here so long, everyone is like family,” said William Cosby, another neighbor.
Cosby and his wife returned to their home Wednesday and retrieved a few items. He said he wasn’t sure he’d make it out of the home alive.
“For the first time every in my life. I did not think I was going to have a family,” said Cosby.
The family took cover in the hallway after wind blew open a window. Cosby said it sounded like a train was coming through the house.
“When we walked out, we did not have a roof over our house,” said Cosby.
It’s still difficult for neighbors to process the emotions over the past 48 hours. Cosby said the home has been in the family since the 70s.
“I am not crying because the house is gone, I am crying because I am still here,” said Cosby.
Piles of debris contain memories and belongings for families living on the street.
While Timothy Vason’s home is still standing, it is heavily damaged.
“I heard this end of the house started rumbling and then all of a sudden, bam, bam it busted all the windows out,” said Vason.
Vason brother lives in the old family home across the street. He lost everything and items are scattered all around.
“I don’t know how he walked out of that house, but he did. So all I can give credit to is God,” said Vason.
Despite the damage to the community, neighbors on “the hill” are even closer together. Two neighbors shared an emotional hug during cleanup Wednesday.
“If you have loved ones, you tell them you love them every day because you don’t know what is going to happen,” said Cosby.