Home US TRAGEDY :Tornado Killed Seven Members Of One Family In Alabama

TRAGEDY :Tornado Killed Seven Members Of One Family In Alabama

Affected family of the tornado
Affected family of the tornado

Seven members of one family were among those killed when a mile-wide tornado tore through rural communities in eastern Alabama, the authorities said on Tuesday as they released the names of the 23 known victims of the storm.

The youngest victim was a 6-year-old boy, Armondo Hernandez, and the oldest was Jimmy Lee Jones, 89. Three other children — ages 8, 9 and 10 — were also killed.

According to the  New York Times,the seven family members, who were related by marriage, were living in separate houses on the same road, said Bill Harris, the Lee County coroner.

“There’s going to be some financial issues there,” he said. “They’ve got seven funerals that they’re going to have to finance somehow.”

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Emergency officials said that they were still searching for victims and survivors of the storm. But their list of missing people had been winnowed to seven or eight, they said, down from “dozens” on Monday.

“We haven’t given up hope,” said Byron Prather, the fire chief in Opelika, Ala. “We’re still searching.”

The tornado, which left a 70-mile path of destruction on Sunday through Alabama and Georgia, was the deadliest to hit the United States in six years.

“When you see the devastation, it’s just hard to fathom that something can be this powerful,” Brian Hastings, the director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, said at a news conference at the local high school in Beauregard, Ala.

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Among the victims were Henry Stenson, 65, his wife, Florel, 63 and their son, Eric, 38, who all died while sheltering in their double-wide mobile home, said Katrena Coleman, a niece of Henry Stenson.

The Stensons lived off Lee Road 39, a two-lane road cutting through a wooded rural area where officials reported some of the most severe damage from the tornado.

Ms. Coleman, who lives a three-hour drive away in Huntsville, Ala., said that her mother and other relatives went to search for the family on Sunday after failing to reach them by phone.

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The searchers arrived to find that the house was “gone completely,” Ms. Coleman said. “There was too much wind,” she said. “It couldn’t take it.”

At first, the Stensons seemed to be missing, she said, but as the searchers hunted through the wreckage, someone “just saw an arm and a leg up on the debris.”

An official with the National Weather Service said on Monday that the damage on Lee Road 39 indicated that the winds there had reached about 170 miles an hour.

“Even the brick house next to them, the only thing standing up was a fireplace,” Ms. Colem