At least one person died after a tornado ripped through Jefferson County, Alabama (just northeast of Birmingham) last night, collapsing buildings and trapping people inside their homes.
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Birmingham said the severe storm impacted the Fultondale area, causing “significant damage.”
A tornado warning was issued just after 10:30 p.m.
The resulting storm knocked out power and produced debris that blocked roads in the area. A Hampton Inn, Comfort Inn, and Suites and a Chili’s restaurant were badly damaged.
“We do have possible fatalities, cannot confirm the number yet. We still have search-and-rescue crews out working,” Fultondale Assistant Fire Chief Justin McKenzie said.
Fultondale Police Chief D.P. Smith said at least five people have been hospitalized. James Coker, the director of the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency, said injuries from the storm ranged from minor to severe.
“Our current goal is always life safety,” Coker said. “That is not only for the people who may have been injured but also the first responders who assist them.”
Earlier, Fultondale Mayor Larry Holcomb said the city received about 20 reports of minor injuries.
“There are still people trapped in their homes that we are trying to access at this time,” Holcomb said.
(Photo courtesy of WeatherNation)