Phil Campbell: One year after the storm - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Phil Campbell: One year after the storm

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One year after the tornado outbreak, residents of Phil Campbell work to rebuild. One year after the tornado outbreak, residents of Phil Campbell work to rebuild.
PHIL CAMPBELL, AL (WAFF) -

One year later, Phil Campbell still shows a lot of signs of the EF-5 tornado that ripped a hole through the community.

"I remember the destruction and how gut wrenching it was to know how many people were hurt, how many people were killed, and how many people had lost everything they had," said Phil Campbell Police Chief Merrell Potter.

Chief Potter rode the storm out and then immediately went into search and rescue mode.

The EF-5 killed 27 people and destroyed hundreds of homes, but a year later residents are picking up the pieces. Construction now dominates the landscape.

"It sounds like music to my ears," said Potter. "To hear the saws buzzing and hammers pounding."

For Pastor Chris Burns, the anniversary is a testament to his faith. The tornado leveled his 2,500 square foot church. He famously preached from it days after the disaster.

"We're going to go through times and we're going to have troubles, trials, issues, but God is faithful," said Burns. "He's proven that to me."

His slab of a church is still there. Burns moved the congregation across the street from the high school and into a 10,000 square foot facility. The new church has a children's area, teen outreach center, even staff offices.

The town still has a lot of work to do, but they want everyone to know that one year later all the pain is replaced by progress.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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