Atmore storm damage to be assessed


ATMORE, Ala. (WALA) -Cleanup is underway Monday at a big department store in Atmore.

The Burke’s Outlet Store off Highway 21 in Atmore was destroyed.

photo 2 Atmore storm damage to be assessed

A downburst destroyed the business Sunday, and heavily damaged Fred’s Super Dollar, next-door, in the same building.



Insurance adjusters and cleanup crews were out early Monday morning at Burke’s Outlet.

Bricks were knocked out, a pillar collapsed, and insulation was strewn like paper on nearby trees.

Next door, Fred’s Super Dollar suffered less damage, but, workers in a basket crane had to pull a tarpaulin over part of the collapsed roof.



Larry Pelegrino is with Creek Waste and Recycling.

Monday, he came to help remove food from Fred’s.

He said the manager told him a woman appeared about to enter the store right before the big gust of wind hit on Sunday.

Pelegrino said, “One of the ladies that was going inside the shop,  she went to go shop.  Before she did, she saw the whole building collapse. She said she never heard any noise, but it just collapsed.”



Natasha Frye works nearby at the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.

When asked if she was surprised to see all the damage, Frye said, “Yes, sir.  I work right next door. I work at KFC, and our bucket is gone.”

Ruby Wells has a daughter who lives in Atmore and came to the scene, amazed at what she saw.

Wells said, “It came out of the clear blue, and (caused) such damage.  My goodness alive.  And what they have inside,  and the people that wanted to come to work this morning.”

Everyone seemed to agree this was a very unusual sight.

When asked what she thought of this, Wells said,  “It doesn’t happen in Atmore.  This is God’s country.”



The storm also damaged Lowell McGill’s home.

Fortunately, no one was hurt in the storm.

79 year old Lowell McGill is waiting to hear whether insurance will pay for damage to his home, which includes a tree going through his roof.

A tree came crashing into his bedroom Sunday.

But, he said, “We feel real blessed by God that we weren’t hurt or killed.   That tree came through like a bullet, that tree, when it came in the house.  I went to the back bedroom at the time it was penetrating into the room.  I saw it coming into the room.”



McGills son lives right next door.

Bryan McGill said, “I had no idea their house was hit until they called me.  (There was) too much wind and too many things circulating in the air.”



There was other damage in the neighborhood, too.

Right across the street, workers cleared tree limbs from the campus of Escambia High School.

And a couple of blocks away, the storm ripped a huge tree out of the ground.

For now, Lowell McGill is waiting to hear how much his insurance company will pay.

McGill said, “The impact of that tree falling on the roof shook the entire room and broke windows, and I see that my floor is sinking a little bit now.   I’m going to have the adjuster take a close look at that.”



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