Tornadoes ripped across the Tennessee Valley Monday night, causing extensive damage and killing several people. (Source: Viewer)
NORTH ALABAMA (WAFF) -
The day after tornadoes destroyed homes and took lives across North Alabama and southern Tennessee, people came together to once again pick up the pieces and count blessings.
Limestone County was hard-hit by the storms. A tornado hit Billy and Barb's Trailer Court on Highway 72 in the Coxey community, killing Dorothy Hollis and her son Carlton. The storm also destroyed all 27 trailers in the complex.
Neighbors in the community are pulling together to help in each other's time of need. Chelsee Thorton's mother owns a home in the neighborhood. That home now lies in ruins. Finding her memories scattered amongst the rubble hasn't been easy.
"It was a lot worse than I could imagine," Chelsee said.
Tuesday, the family came together to clean up their former home so it could be examined by their insurance company.
"We're just trying to get big pieces of wood and trash and things into a burn pile so we can get it cleaned up," she said.
Thorton's mother will stay at a family member's house until she can get back on her feet. Chelsee said her mother intends to sell the property and move closer to her work.
"We can always have the memories; just won't have the house anymore," Chelsee said.
Limestone County used one of their two new storm shelters Monday. The shelter at the Ark of Promise Church on Browns Ferry Road had no electricity, water or restroom facilities, but it is storm-ready and capable of holding more than 200 people.
Two fatalities were also reported in Lincoln County, Tennessee, where a preliminary report indicates an EF-3 tornado caused extensive damage, including the destruction of South Lincoln Elementary School.
John and Karen Prince were killed – thrown, according to their son, more than 100 feet from their home.
Other families in the area lost every material thing they owned. However, they said their spirits were unbreakable.
Shirley Simmons and her husband heard the damage above them, huddled together in their basement shelter. A car slammed into her home and brick walls crumbled around her.
As the chaos dwindled, Simmons said she managed to keep it together.
"I have a peace about it all. It is devastating to think that your whole life, everything you have is gone. But you have your life. That is the most important thing," she said.
Granddaughter Olivia Simmons said the home was filled with more than things – memories were made here, something the tornado can't wipe away.
Residents in Madison County spent Monday cleaning up. The storms downed plenty of trees on Single Tree Drive in Hazel Green. Tuesday, neighbors helped each other cut trees and remove debris.
The storm also caused major damage to Hazel Green Church of Prophecy. A large portion of the roof was ripped off and the building sustained structural damage. The pastor hopes the building can be saved, but if not, they will rebuild.