Bringing Richland back after the storm

March 8, 2007

Richland -- Richland was one of the first areas to get hit by a deadly tornado. Folks there are moving forward with restoring their town after several businesses were destroyed and homes damaged.

Downtown Richland just isn't the same. A barbershop once stood on Broad Street. Now the hair shop is rubble.

"I aint never seen no devastation like this in my life," says worker James Tate.

Work crews are sorting through it all.

Harmony Church, which the city recently restored, is no more. Walls caved in. An organ sits along the piles of wood.

"A big pecan tree was here and another one was over there," says Rudolph John.

The homeowner is counting his blessings. His home wasn't destroyed, but the tornado left damages.

"Landed on the roof, broke part of the chimney off."

And ripped off his carport. Crews are at work restoring other roofs. The city called in 12 contractors to help city and county workers.

"Quite a few homes that were hit. Three or four that was probably a hundred percent total. A lot of damage on the roof and other structures around the home that were hit with fallen trees," says Mayor Adolph McLendon.

Most of the trees that blocked roads in Richland are gone.

"We moved about 185,000 cubic feet of limbs trees and various debris."

It's what the city could clean up quickly. Other projects like Stewart Webster Printing Company, which is now completely destroyed, will take some time.

"Nature can be so violent," Tate says.

But people who live here are pulling through to bring their small town back. 

Mayor Mclendon says after the tornado, the whole town was without power. By Saturday afternoon, he says, mostly everyone was restored.