Centreville Mayor Speaks About Tornado Relief Efforts
At around 5 p.m. Thursday, a large and dangerous tornado touched down in Centreville, Alabama, ravaging homes along a miles-wide stretch along Airport Street. The storm that produced the tornado traveled across the entire state, leaving thousands without power and hundreds without running water.
For Centreville Mayor Mike Oakley, the impact was a lot more personal. He recounted what it was like in the moment the storm hit his town.
"I can't say enough about the help we've received," Oakley said. "It was not scary, it was more like, take shelter, assess the damage, and let's get forward from there... My mindset was, as soon as this was over, let's go see where we need to go and who needs help, and that's what we did."
Immediately after it was safe to leave the shelter, Alabama Power and local first responders were on the scene to help assess and address the damage. Oakley said that he personally heard many surrounding communities reach out to provide assistance.
Within two hours, city leaders in Tuscaloosa, Montevallo and Shelby County had been in contact to find ways to help, and locally over 100 volunteers were on the ground helping clear debris.
"The good thing about a rural community is that everyone's got a chainsaw, and a lot of people have contacts ... to get trees out of the way," Oakley said.
Oakley was thankful that despite some entrapment, no residents sustained any serious injuries. However, the damage was widespread and significant in terms of downed power lines, uprooted trees and property damage.
As of right now, Oakley said that Centreville will be accepting donations at the Centreville Fire Department at 424 Montevallo Rd. Non-perishable snacks are in high demand right now as cleanup crews have been on the ground since Thursday afternoon.