BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — This time last year, people in Birmingham’s Hillman community were sifting through rubble of dilapidated homes on Jefferson Avenue Southwest. A Christmas Day tornado swept through the street, downing power lines and trees, destroying houses.
A year later, Ruthie Green has repaired the damage to her home, but the fear remains, especially with this Christmas feeling eerily similar to last year.
“It turned warm. No cold weather. All of a sudden, they started saying a tornado. You’re still going to the door, looking up at the sky, like, wow, hope it don’t happen again,” Green said.
Green weathered the storm from her hallway.
“I ran back to the window and looked. It’s like a big ball of smoke, huge. It just made a turn,” she said.
That turn took the tornado through a path of several homes, which were completely destroyed. Today, the concrete slabs where those houses once stood are empty. However, there are a few others, damaged, but standing. Those are the ones Ruthie Green hopes will be torn down.
“We’ve been trying to find the owners,” she said.
Hopewell Baptist Church offered help to homeowners whose houses were damaged, but have not been able to track down who they all are, says Green, who is a deaconess there.
“It even makes the church look bad. So they try to see can they see this people, have them come forward or want help to get it done. If you’re not going to redo it, then sell it to the church,” she said.
A few houses down, Ronald Dial’s house had roof damage from the tornado. He’s repaired that all now He also wants to see positive change come to Hillman, and he has some ideas of what could go on those empty concrete slabs.
“Some more houses, because they have a lot of commercial business now. We need more houses for more families,” Dial said.