OK tornadoes a flashback for Phil Campbell - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

OK tornadoes a flashback for Phil Campbell

It's been nearly 25 months since an EF-5 tornado destroyed the city of Phil Campbell. It's been nearly 25 months since an EF-5 tornado destroyed the city of Phil Campbell.
PHIL CAMPBELL, AL (WAFF) -

The sights and sounds from Oklahoma hit home to many in Alabama, especially those in some of the hardest hit areas, like Phil Campbell.

School leaders said on the morning of April 27, they spent most of the time in the hallways before a decision was made to send everyone home early.

Hours later, a massive tornado ripped through the city, destroying nearly everything in its path.

"We said, 'You know what? Could've been us.' We were able to get our children home, and that could've been us, the same situation. And then on the other side of it, we lost three - and they were home," said Principal Jackie Ergle.

It's been nearly 25 months since an EF-5 tornado destroyed the city of Phil Campbell.

"Our hearts are for them because we really can't put ourselves in their place, yet we know the long haul they have before them and the healing process that takes so long," Ergle said.

On Tuesday, students spent part of their day making cards for survivors, sharing messages of faith and hope drawn largely across the papers.

"For us, giving back to them makes us feel good," said 6th grader, Ivy Ozbirn.

Ivy hopes their messages will encourage the victims to stay strong.

"Just think of the good things, not the bad things. Think of the things you still have and think you're blessed and you can get through it and everyday will get easier," she said.

"Our kids are resilient. They're strong. They're happy children," said Ergle.

Although the small city continues to rebuild, for many people in Phil Campbell, the memories of what happened on April 27, 2011 will remain.

"I don't think the memories ever will go away, as far as the tragedy, I don't think will ever go away because like with this one, it's a flashback for us," said Ergle.

Ergle also said the fear of another tornado will never leave the city.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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