Tornado destroys only fire department in Mississippi community
The only volunteer fire department in Hamilton, a small community in Monroe County, Mississippi, was destroyed in this weekend’s devastating tornadoes.
The tornado hit Monroe County on Saturday night, said CNN meteorologist Gene Norman. It was one of about six tornadoes to hit the state this weekend. One person in Monroe was killed and 10 people were injured.
This weekend’s massive storm system ravaged areas from Texas to Mississippi. Seven people died because of the severe weather, including the person in Mississippi, four people in Texas and two in Louisiana.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency Sunday for areas affected by the severe weather.
A photo of the destroyed fire station shows debris strewn all over and trucks standing in place underneath.
Terry Tucker, Monroe’s fire coordinator, said on Sunday he was alerted to the fate of the fire department’s building around 11 p.m. Saturday.
“We took a direct hit,” one firefighter told Tucker over the radio. “The fire station (is) gone.”
No firefighters were killed or injured, Tucker said.
Tucker said the Hamilton department was the only one in the immediate area of the small community of about 1,500 people. The other nearest station is 14 miles away, Tucker said.
“It’s hard to fathom, the fire department is gone,” he said. “The people will have a long recovery. The fire department basically has to start over. They have good manpower but they have to start the station all over.”
While the building is gone, Tucker said the department was able to salvage some gear and the trucks are still there but damaged.
Along with the fire department’s building, Saturday’s tornado also destroyed multiple homes and a retail center.