Homeowners clean-up after holiday storms - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Homeowners clean-up after holiday storms

December 26, 2002

Lee County, Dougherty County-- Lee County was one of the worst hit areas in Tuesday's storms. The Governor declared the County a disaster area, with twenty-five homes and businesses damaged, two of those being unlivable.

For one family, this is not the first time they've been struck by a natural disaster. The Layfields have lived through the '94 and '98 floods, and now, they're cleaning up what's left of their home, nearly destroyed by a tornado.

An insurance adjuster was out early this morning surveying the extensive tornado damage. Becky Layfield says, "All the bedrooms are caved in, we were able to get the belongings out before it did since hundreds of people came out to help. We moved in two hours."

Right after the tornado struck, neighbors, friends and even strangers stopped by the Layfields' home on Highway 32 in Lee County to lend a helping hand. "We've had people off the road stop to help. They came to help us on Christmas Eve when they could have been with their families."

Now that the home is cleaned out, the family is getting a first glimpse at the structural damage. The winds were so strong that the foundation of their home seems to have moved, and several columns on the back porch were torn off.  Becky says, "We've never experienced a tornado, we've been through two floods -- we are use to living out of garbage bags." They are maintaining a sense of humor -- no doubt an asset for a family that was displaced in both the 1994 and 1998 floods.

"That's right, they say things come in threes, so I think we are good to go. The good Lord has been with us and we look to him to take care of us."

Early estimates say that at least 75 percent of the Layfields' home was destroyed. A structural engineer will determine whether the foundation can be salvaged, or if the family will have to rebuild entirely. For now, the Layfields are staying with family.

Cleanup also continues in Albany after a Christmas Eve tornado. A crane lifted a two-story tall tree that fell on the roof of a Westwood Drive home. Ten homes in Dougherty County were damaged by the storms.

Workers say they will be busy for at least two weeks removing trees that fell in Tuesday's storm. Alvin Harben's tree service company is removing the trees everywhere, "There's damage up in Leesburg, around Doublegate, we've got jobs all over really that the storm caused."

Neighbors just down the street were picking up pieces of trees torn off by high winds. A tree also fell onto the roof of this home on Chapman Drive but has been removed. Roofers began repairing the damage today.

Posted at 6:45 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com

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