‘Every time I watch a storm …’
The nation turned its attention to southern Alabama after a…
In the small town of Hackleburg, Ala., more than two dozen people died April 27 as a tornado destroyed the only grocery store, schools, the police station, the fire department and homes.
Winds stronger than 200 mph ripped away the front of the Hackleburg Church of Christ building and ravaged the foundation, walls and roof, minister Mike Lane said.
The building appears to be a total loss, Lane said.
“I don’t know whether we can salvage the pews or not,” he added.
Lane and his wife, Betty, hid in a closet in their house about three blocks from the church.
“It’s the only place in the house where we could have survived it,” the minister told The Christian Chronicle. “My wife got a broken clavicle. I got bruised up pretty badly. Other than that, I’m in pretty good shape.”
Bridget Renee Barnwell Brisbois, 34, a member of the Hackleburg church, died in the storm, Lane said. Her son, Mitchell, less than a month old, was with his grandparents and survived.
That Sunday, church members — including a half-dozen or more families who lost homes — gathered for a short worship assembly outside the devastated building.
“Tears were shed,” Lane said. “I spoke some encouraging words. It was the beginning of the healing process.”
The Hackleburg storm was part of a swath of twisters April 27 that killed about 350 people and injured thousands more across seven states.
To help: Hackleburg Church of Christ, P.O. Box 176, Hackleburg, AL 35564.
See other Chronicle coverage of the April 27 tornadoes.
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