DEKALB COUNTY, Ala - "I got a call and it was a call I didn't want to hear," said Calvin Thomas, a deacon at Victory Baptist Church in Rainsville.
The storm sirens began mid-afternoon in DeKalb County, and moments later the small church building located just off Highway 35 was hit. Victory Baptist was destroyed on April 27th, 2011. The congregation had only been back in their building for little over a year when the winds struck again, this time taking only their steeple.
"This was the worst of it," said Thomas as he motioned to the overturned steeple laying beside the brick building. "Of course we had a little damage on the inside with water, but it's repairable."
Luckily no one was in the church when the storm came and the building was fully insured. Deacon Thomas says the damage is significant but church services will be held at the location Sunday morning.
The damage did not stop in Rainsville. In Fort Payne, the Heil plant suffered significant damage. The roof took the worst hit, Large chunks were littered across the parking lot and many were thrown all the way across the road. Several vehicles were damaged by the flying pieces of steel. Operations Director John Kalson says when the sirens first began, all employees were rushed into the storm shelter.
"You could hear a pretty good size noise with the sound of the wind and the rain," he said. "When we heard the warnings again we got all our team members in our shelters and we were going to wait for the warning to expire before we came out and then the winds hit."
The plant was destroyed by a tornado back in the 1980s, so when the plant was expanded several years ago a storm shelter was part of the blue prints.
"As we did our expansion. one of the things we wanted to make sure that we had everything necessary just in case."
About 500 people work at the Heil plant but Kalson says only the following employees should be report to work tomorrow.
The remaining employees will be notified when they need to report back to work.