Miller tornado cleanup will take weeks - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Miller tornado cleanup will take weeks

Miller County-- It will be weeks before people in Miller County fully clean up the mess left behind by Tuesday's deadly tornado. Farms in the storm's path were devastated, and homes that were once part of quiet neighborhoods were flattened.

Ron Williams' four-bedroom had occupied a special place for about seven decades. "By the grace of God. Ordinarily I would have been here," he told us. "Left in the morning everything was fine. I came back eight hours later, and it's all gone," he says.

Williams spent the day digging through the debris, trying to collect the pieces of his life. "I had a barn in the back which is gone, three more out buildings, plus this house here. It's a total loss-- everything is destroyed," Williams says.

His cars are crushed, his furniture is destroyed, and his possessions are buried beneath what used to be walls. "I'm lucky to be alive. More than likely I would not have survived this. You can see the dissection of this whole home which has stood here for more than 70 years."

"We can come and pick up some stuff with a front end loader if you need some help," says Tommy Dollar. Dollar farms the land around Williams' house. He and his employees are helping clean up the mess, even though Dollar has a lot of work to do himself. "We've got two completely demolished irrigation systems that have to be replaced, and it's going to take a little time," Dollar says.

Time and money because each one costs an average of $50,000, and with planting season just ten days away soggy, debris-littered fields will be a big set back. "We found fence wire, we found grain bin elevator buckets, we've found all type of scenario of stuff as much as a mile away from where the stuff started coming," explains Dollar.

And his 300 acres of land will have to be cleared by hand. Though both men suffered big losses they're counting their blessings and encouraging everyone to do the same. "If you have something and survived this just be thankful for everything you do have and know with the blink of an eye it could all be gone," Williams says.

Miller County EMA director Billy Rakel says bottled water, paper products, and personal items are now available for storm victims. They can be picked up at the Colquitt EMS station on Grace Street.

posted by dave.miller@walb.com