One person is dead after a tornado tore through an Alabama city north of Birmingham Monday night, leaving the area with crumpled buildings and downed trees. Fultondale Fire Chief Justin McKenzie confirmed the death to CBS News, adding that 17 others were brought to hospitals and 11 more were treated at the scene.
Police Chief D.P. Smith said a young man trapped in the basement of his home was the person who lost his life. Smith said he was pronounced dead at the scene around 3 a.m. Tuesday, AL.com reported.
Smith said a tree fell onto the victim's home, causing it to collapse. The victim and his family took shelter in the basement and were trapped inside, Smith said.
It's believed the victim was a teenager. Smith said several other family members were critically injured and one escaped harm.
Fultondale Mayor Larry Holcomb told CBS Birmingham affiliate WIAT-TV early Tuesday there were still people trapped in their homes.
Injuries ranged from minor to severe and search and rescue efforts were ongoing, said James Coker, the director of the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency.
"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."
Coker said Interstate 65 near Walker Chapel Road was closed due to downed power lines and debris. He also said workers were removing obstacles from roadways.
Several residential homes and buildings were damaged in the storm, including a Hampton Inn hotel, which sustained significant structural damage.
Coker said residents are being urged to remain alert and stay out of the area to enable first responders to continue operations.
The damage was being evaluated to determine the strength of the tornado, the National Weather Service in Birmingham said.
A tornado watch was lifted in Jefferson County but nearby areas, including Clanton and western Georgia, were still being monitored.
First published on January 26, 2021 / 6:28 AM
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