VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Valdosta's fire chief praised the work of the county's search and rescue team Tuesday in responding to Monday's storm.
Shortly after 11 a.m. Monday, a strong thunderstorm, believed to have included a tornado, popped up without warning and caused severe damage to Langdale Forest Products on Old Clyatteville Road.
Buildings were destroyed and people were trapped in the debris. The search and rescue team, which is based out of the Valdosta Fire Department but includes both city and county first responders, was on scene minutes after the damage was reported and was able to get everyone out within an hour.
"I was extremely proud of how the fire department, police department, the county's fire department, sheriff's department, all came together [and] all operated in a unified command," said Valdosta Fire Chief Freddie Broome. "As a result, we were able to effectively mitigate the situation and get everyone out safely."
Approximately nine people at Langdale Forest Products received injuries from the storm. Four people were taken to South Georgia Medical Center Monday afternoon.
Two of the four were listed in serious condition as of Monday night.