Etowah County one of worst hit areas in state

ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s one of the hardest hit areas in the state claims the Etowah County sheriff. Looking at aerial video released by the Smith Institute it’s evident how much damage 155 mile per hour winds can do. Homes were ripped from their foundations and the surrounding trees sheared off and flattened. CBS 42 was with Sheriff Todd Entrekin today as he surveyed the damage.

“You can see this house,” claims the sheriff. “This was a nice home.”

The damage in Etowah County stretches as far the eye can see and it’s devastating. Right after the tornado hit – it was mass chaos.

“And we couldn’t get to them, but you could hear people hollering for help,” claims Entrekin. “We had deputies just crawling through here, over the trees, on foot trying to get in here to help these people. Luckily they weren’t hurt but they were scared to death.”

One home was blown off its foundation with the terrified residents still inside. They survived.  But for every horror story told one of heroism emerges.

“Inmate work crews. They’ve been working. They’ve been here an hour since after the tornado hit,” claims the sheriff. “They had this road passable before daylight where we could get in here and search these areas.”

Although it’s only been three days since the tornado came through the area, already some of the properties are starting to look a little more back to normal. Officials say that’s because of the hundreds of volunteers that have come out to help with the cleanup effort.

“We do still have twenty open orders,” claims Larry Teel of Alabama South Baptist Disaster Relief. “If we have been to your residence and have not yet responded we will be there.”

And sometimes just being there makes all the difference especially for an area that was just hit by a tornado 13 months ago.

According the Etowah County EMA, thirty homes were damaged in Monday’s storm and 29 others were destroyed.  FEMA will be touring the area next week to assess the damage.

Copyright 2014 WIAT-TV CBS42

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