PRATT CITY, Ala. (WIAT) — The tornadoes of April 26, 2011 cut deep scars both physically and mentally across our state. Thousands suffered losses, from their homes, businesses and the places that serve as a source of inspiration and pride.
At the corner of Dugan Avenue and Hibernian Street in Birmingham’s Pratt City community, stands a library. That library, along with most homes and businesses in the neighborhood, was destroyed on April 27th, 2011.
“It was so extensively damaged, we had to completely rebuild,” said Georgia Morgan, library board member.
Four years later, the building is finally back open for business.
“Oh, I feel so much pride that we’ve rebuilt in this area, you know,” said Morgan.
The memories from those living in Pratt City are still raw.
“It was a big adjustment for all of us, to start, literally, over again,” said Morgan.
For library assistant Lenairria Creer, her home, like the library, was in the path of a massive EF 4 tornado that struck the community.
“I had to literally be dug out,” Creer said.
She said what she witnessed from her window was terrifying.
“It was very scary. I always say my dogs saved my life. We had a German shepherd and a Pit Bull and I looked out the window and I saw it had gotten so dark and I was thinking of going and getting them and bringing them in the house. It was almost if an invisible hand took them by their tails and they started going up in the air. And they went over my neighbor’s fence and just almost disappeared.”
That’s when she ran for safety, and prayed. Two days later, Creer said a miracle happened.
“We thought we had lost them, but the dogs came back, to that rubble two days later. We came back and they were there, on the porch,” Creer said.
Like her beloved pets, the people of Pratt City also came back to rebuild their homes, their lives and the library.
“I’m glad to be back here, Pratt City wasn’t just where I lived it was where I worked,” said Creer.
They brought with them a sense of pride for their community. It’s the Pratt City way.
“I realize that Pratt City will live on, no matter what happens now,” Creer said.
Pratt City’s library reopened in February of 2014. Their fire station also reopened last year.
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