Two weeks since a tornado ripped through Fort Stewart, clean up crews still have their work cut out for them.
“We do have probably $5 to 6 million in building damages,” said Garrison Commander Colonel Townley Hedrick. “We had to relocate two unit headquarters so that will be constant fixes over the next six months.”
In total, 27 families were forced to leave their homes because they were too damaged to live in, like Danielle Shackelford’s family.
“All of it was just water damage,” said Shackelford. “It flooded, ruined floors, anything that was touching the floors and then everything is covered in insulation and glass.”
Shackelford lived in the home with her husband and 3-year-old daughter. She told News 3 she saw debris flying out her window and jumped into the tub with her daughter; her husband saw a swing set go flying by and followed them into the bathroom.
“We definitely feel lucky,” she said. “Especially considering the only two rooms with a roof [left] was the bathroom and the back bedroom.”
Somehow, despite the incredible amount of damage, no one was hurt.
Many people still complained that the emergency alert system on Fort Stewart malfunctioned that day, but Col. Hedrick explained that isn’t true, and said there just wasn’t enough warning from the
National Weather Service to react.
“The alarm went off as soon as our first firefighter saw the funnel cloud and called our own 911 and said ‘hey hit the alarm button there is a tornado touching down on the west side of post!’,” said Hedrick. “Nobody saw it on the radar.”
Nevertheless, Hedrick said the post will be doing a full After Action Report to double check all of the systems are working properly.