Bessemer residents still cleaning up from April tornado - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Bessemer residents still cleaning up from April tornado

Lester Kizziah said he lost 22 out of the 25 trees in his yard in the Bessemer tornado. Source: WBRC video Lester Kizziah said he lost 22 out of the 25 trees in his yard in the Bessemer tornado. Source: WBRC video
The storm damaged the garage at Lester Kizziah's home. Source: WBRC video The storm damaged the garage at Lester Kizziah's home. Source: WBRC video
BESSEMER, AL (WBRC) -

There was a time when Lester Kizziah's yard was dotted with tall beautiful trees. Unfortunately, that's not the case today.

"We lost 22 trees out of the 25 that we had," Kizziah reflected.

The trees came down during the April 28 tornado. He and his wife were in their bedroom when an EF-2 tornado blew through Bessemer that night.

"I hollered at my wife, 'Cover your head.' And I dove down and grabbed a pillow and put it on my head. And we heard the noise and it was over, like that," he said.

Now, just a little more than two months later, most of the mess is cleaned up. Kizziah has gotten a lot of help from family, local churches and even strangers.

"I haven't spent a dime on having this cleared," he said with a grateful smile. "We were lucky we got the roof put back on fast but our garage is still destroyed and our front porch."

Getting those problems resolved has gone a little slower than he'd like. But the city feels they're well on their way.

"We are pleased with the progress we have going relevant to the cleanup right now," Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley said.

He says the city worked hard to clear public roadways quickly after the storm. As a result, they were able to get major reimbursements from FEMA for the bills.

"Right now we're still encouraging people to get that debris to the right of way. We still have Tag, the company we contracted with, still here and still removing debris," Gulley said.

There is a tornado cleanup effort slated for this Saturday, June 7. Volunteers are still needed. If you'd like to find out how you can help, you can call the Bessemer Mayor's Office at 205-424-4060 and ask for Torraine Norris.

You can also find out more information about the cleanup here.

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