North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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May 7, 2014

A week after the tornado, Kimberly starts to recover and rebuild

KIMBERLY — A week after an EF-1 tornado ripped a three-mile path through the city of Kimberly, pieces of downed trees are stacked like cordwood, and blue tarps cover house roofs like some sort of salute to the city’s Blue Devils of Mortimer Jordan High School.

But the cleanup has progressed well since the night of April 28, when the twister destroyed the city’s fire station, heavily damaged its oldest church and destroyed or damaged more than 70 homes.

Among the places hardest hit was the playground at Kimberly Municipal Park. A week later, the roof of the picnic pavilion sits on the ground, and play equipment lies in differing degrees of disarray.

Immediately adjacent to the playground, the fields used by the North Jefferson Soccer Club were barely hurt, and were in fact used last Thursday much as they normally are.

The dollar value of the damage caused by the tornado still isn’t known, Mayor Bob Ellerbrock said. He called a special meeting of the city council to declare a city-wide state of emergency, and set up a committee to handle requests for proposals regarding damaged city property.

Meanwhile, Kimberly Fire and Rescue continues to dig out from the storm. What was left of the station house has been torn down, and a canvas tent put up to shelter the largest truck. City councilman Brian Pharris said the full extent of mechanical damage won’t be known until the trucks are given a thorough inspection by a company in Brindlee Mountain.

Until that time, the department has been given a pumper truck by a department in Bainbridge, Ind. “They’re ‘paying it forward’ — their station was damaged by a storm a while back,” Pharris said.

According to a story in the Greencastle Banner-Graphic, the truck is a 1990 model that the Bainbridge Community Fire Department had sought to dispose of because it didn’t meet their current needs.

North Jefferson Middle School returned to its normal class schedule on Monday, after being closed Tuesday through Friday because of damage. While no announcement has been made yet, it’s likely that those days will not have to be made up because of Gov. Robert Bentley’s declaration of a state of emergency.

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