Tuscaloosa looks back on deadly tornado 10 years later

Special Reports

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Tuesday marks a grim anniversary in Tuscaloosa.

On April 27, 2011, 53 people were killed after an EF-4 tornado touched down and destroyed many homes and businesses across the city.

City Councilman Kip Tyner said that day remains a painful memory. Tyner represents the Alberta community, which the tornado nearly wiped off the map.

“I will never forget that day and I hope to never repeat it,” Tyner said. “The district overall, 65% of the area in Alberta was either completely destroyed or severely damaged beyond the point where the buildings had to be torn down or the homes had to be torn down. If you think about it, 65% of anything, 65% of your house or your neighborhood, but this was 65% of the entire district.”

Tyner said the death toll could have been much worse and he’s thankful that so many survived, such as Robert Reed, a former manager at the Crescent Ridge Mobile Home Park in Holt. Reed pulled 12 people to safety from the rubble that were trapped inside the mobile home community.

“Some people had refrigerators on top of them, stoves, washing machines, and I had to pick them up off of them. Some walls fell down on some people and I had to lift up the walls to pull them out and then carry them to the road so that if an ambulance comes, they will see them in the street and know they need help to get to the hospital quicker,” Reed said.

To this day, Reed still does not like to talk about the tornado and continues to suffer from anxiety because of what happened. Reed is just glad he was able to help.

“When they say I’m a hero or Superman and stuff like that, it makes me feel good to hear that, but I am just a normal person and I try to just do my part living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama,” he said.

Tyner said so much was destroyed, but today, there are a number of new homes and new businesses.

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