Tornado cleanup moving forward in Autauga County

The cleanup continues following a deadly tornado that hit Autauga County.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 8:14 PM CST
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AUTAUGA COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - There has been an overwhelming amount of support for those affected by the Jan. 12 tornado in Autauga County.

The Old Kingston Community Center has been transformed into a donation site. There is everything from cleaning supplies to baby items and even food. It is all available at no charge.

“We will help you get what you need if you just come in,” said Vera Hunter, who owns the building.

Hunter said they’ve already been able to help well over 25 families.

“It is just wonderful. The fire department even here in the community brought stuff yesterday, and we got people that keep coming,” said Hunter.

“We’ve had some donation centers kind of set up organically, right, just out in the community. And we certainly appreciate that they’re there. They know what the need is. They know the families better than we do, and they can reach out to them,” said EMA Director Ernie Baggett.

Baggett said they are grateful for the donation centers and volunteers. Right now, the county is moving into the recovery stage.

“We’re trying to make sure that people have their stuff out to the side of the road and making sure their properties are cleaned and starting to process them in with FEMA,” said Baggett.

County engineer John Mark Davis said additional help has come in from Montgomery and Jefferson counties. He said people who are doing their own cleanup or have volunteers helping can start bringing their stuff to the right of way.

“If you’re hiring a contractor or insurance is paying for cleanup, they need to take care of their own disposal of their debris,” said Davis.

Davis pointed out it is important to try to separate materials.

“Timber debris goes in one place, your c&d stuff goes to landfill, electronics need to be separated out, and white goods need to be separated out. We can’t pick up any kind of food or liquids and stuff like that. We can’t pick that stuff up,” said Davis.

During this process they are working to keep traffic at a minimum and are asking people to stay out of the hardest hit areas unless they live there.

County leaders say while they are pleased with the progress, there is still a long road ahead.

“We’re probably going to be working on this project for the next two years,” said Baggett.

Baggett said they are also working with the state EMA and FEMA to establish a disaster recovery center.

The Old Kingston Community Center is open Monday, Tuesday and Friday from noon to 5 p,m.

If you would like to donate you can call 334-868-0028.

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