Cottonton Tornado: One Year Later

COTTONTON, AL (WXTX) - February 17th marks the first anniversary of the tornado that hit the small town of Cottonton, Alabama in Russell County. The families effected are no longer living in their homes, but news leader nine caught up with the people who helped with the relief effort last February.

It has been exactly one year since a tornado ripped through this part of Cottonton, and not much has changed. Luckily the families got out alive, but they're still picking up the pieces.

The Russell County Homeland Security Director, William Alexander said, "The location where the trailers were located is pretty much the same with the exception of some brush and some debris that have been picked up."

It was Sunday, February 17th, when an EF-2 tornado damaged four homes on Cedar Heights Drive in Cottonton, Alabama.

"One home was totally destroyed and they couldn't stay there so we put them in a hotel and of course: clothes, food, we provide all that," said Donna Brown, the Russell County Red Cross Emergency Services Director.

The four effected families received help from a fund set up at CB&T Bank and the support of the Red Cross.

"When they see our vests with the big red cross, they know why we're there. They come up and hug you, and you'll cry with them. They thank you for being there and they know they'll get the help they know," Brown told News Leader Nine.

After the tornado hit, Fox 54 caught up with some of the individuals who were trying to sort through the rubble that was once their home.

"None of the families have been able to relocate back on the property. One family in particular is living in Michigan now. In fact, I spoke with them a couple days ago and they want to come back home, but unfortunately they are financially unable to at this time," added Alexander.

As Alexander said, some residents want to return to the area, but fear this could happen again. In the midst of tornado season, it's important for them to be safe this time around.