Storms leave damage

Published 10:51 am Monday, May 4, 2009

Severe storms packing intense straight-line winds hit Chilton County Sunday afternoon, uprooting trees and causing significant structural damage.

Maplesville residents bore the brunt of the damage. Trees fell on two mobile homes and damaged three other homes in the town, displacing two families, Chilton County Emergency Management Agency Director Bill Collum reported.

Among the affected homes were those owned by Maplesville Mayor Kurt Wallace and Maplesville Fire Chief Michael Abbott.

Collum said when he arrived in Maplesville, Abbott had covered his home with tarps and was already busy assisting other residents. Many others had turned out to help their neighbors pick up the pieces.

“That’s a real credit to those volunteers over there,” Collum said. “That’s the kind of folks we’ve got working for our fire departments — people who want to help their community.”

Two massive red oaks were uprooted in the yard of Phil and Jennifer Kamerer, along with numerous other trees. Two vehicles in the yard were severely damaged, and one of the trees ripped the power connector off the historic home.

“We had literally worked the whole weekend raking leaves and picking up limbs,” Jennifer Kamerer said. “In 10 minutes, this thing rolls through here and it looks like a war zone without the fire.”

Kamerer added she was happy that no one was injured.

Lumber sheds were reportedly damaged at Taylor-Made Lumber Company, and a lean-to was ripped off the back of Town Hall.

Wallace wished to thank all the crews and individuals who donated time and resources in the clean-up effort.

“There were probably 50 people around town that volunteered,” Wallace said. “The outpouring of people was absolutely amazing. Nobody asked for a dollar. That’s small town living at its best.”

In Jemison, many downed trees were reported, including several at City Park. Three vehicles and at least one home sustained damage in the city.

“People need to get their trees cut up and placed beside the road, and we’ll pick them up,” Jemison Mayor Eddie Reed said.

The only other specific incidents reported were trees across the road in Isabella and a damaged shed on County Road 153.

The National Weather Service reported no tornadic activity in the area but estimated straight-line winds reached speeds up to 75 mph.

“As far as I know, it was just that line and that bow that just blasted Chilton County,” NWS meteorologist Kevin Pence said. “The damage it produced was comparable to that of a small tornado but on a larger scale.”

Check later Monday for more information.