At least one person has been killed and more than 20 injured after a large tornado ripped through Fultondale, Alabama, U.S. at around 22:30 CST on January 25, 2021 (05:30 UTC, January 26), causing significant material damage and downing trees. The tornado was described by the NWS as 'large and extremely dangerous.'
The search and rescue mission was still in progress early Tuesday morning (LT).
"We do have possible fatalities, can not confirm the number yet. We still have search and rescue crews out working," Assistant Fire Chief Justin McKenzie said at around 03:30 CST, January 26.
McKenzie also confirmed earlier Tuesday morning there were 'many injuries or deaths at this time,' according to the WBRC.
BREAKING: This hotel sustained major damage in Fultondale. pic.twitter.com/YRM9Z3Cu2J— Fred Davenport (@FredWVTM13) January 26, 2021
Authorities confirmed several structures on Walker Chapel Road were damaged, including a Hampton Inn, Comfort Inn and Suites, a Chili’s restaurant and possibly an Outback Steakhouse.
There are also reports of damage to homes in the Fultondale area, and serious damage at the intersection of North Pine Hill Road and Carson Road.
A roof of Hildale Baptist Church on Sunhill Road in Center Point was also damaged.
At least 5 people have been hospitalized, with injuries ranging from minor to severe, Fultondale Police Chief said. 17 people were reportedly rushed to the hospital and 11 treated on scene.
First responders urged the public to avoid the Fultondale and Center Point areas to allow them to safely continue their operations.
"PLEASE stay out of the Fultondale area. This includes but isn't limited to Carson Road, Black Creek Road, Pine Hill Road, and New Castle Road. On top of road dangers such as power lines and debris...traffic is clogging the roads," Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency said early Tuesday morning.
Areas likely impacted by #tornado in #Fultondale, #Alabama include:— Matthew Cappucci (@MatthewCappucci) January 26, 2021
– Walker Chapel Rd. & I-65
– I-65 at exit 267
– Shops/restaurants off Lowery Parkway near Target
– Decatur Highway near Republic Ave.
– American Legion Post 255
– Carson Road near Yarbrough
Please avoid the area. pic.twitter.com/TzzeYEn4ml
The following schools will be closed on January 26, 2021:
Fultondale High, Fultondale Elementary, Center Point High, Erwin Middle, Erwin Intermediate, Center Point Elementary, Clay-Chalkville High, Clay-Chalkville Middle, Bryant Park Elementary, Chalkville Elementary, and Clay Elementary.
No classes will be held for either traditional or remote students at these schools. All other JEFCOED schools will be open Tuesday.
Featured image credit: LSM (stillshot)