A late-summer tornado has destroyed the roof of a Walmart in Alabama, WALA (Mobile) is reporting.
At about 10:45 p.m. Thursday, a tornado warning was issued for Pike County, home to the city of Troy (population: 18,000). Charlene Faulkner was at the Troy Walmart at the time, taking advantage of a tax-free sale.
“The light flickered and my husband said, ‘let me see the phone.’ He wanted to look at the radar and then as soon as he heard it, it was like it started in the back of the store where the sporting goods and the garden center is, and he said ‘Charlene it’s a tornado,’ and he threw me down to the floor and covered me up. Glass started going everywhere, the ceiling started collapsing. All the aisles, all the back to school stuff was just flown everywhere, the things that were in the aisle and they had just a gotten truck in so there was the rolling dollies were everywhere in the aisles with the products that had just came in on them. It sounded, like everyone says, a train, but then there was a huge explosion when all the big windows exploded in the front of the store.”
In addition to collapsing the roof of the Troy Walmart, the tornado also heavily damaged other stores at or near the same shopping center, including a sporting goods store and nearby convenience store, according to the Troy Messenger.
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Reports indicate that the tornado caused four injuries, though Troy Police Chief Jimmy Ennis describes the minor injuries as “walking injuries.”
Troy mayor Jason Reeves said the tornado could have been much worse if it hadn’t happened so late at night.
“You’ve seen the damage inside Walmart so there is a great deal to do here at Hibbets and the surrounding area. We were very fortunate that at another point in time this store and parking lot could have been completely filled with people. We are very blessed that it was not much much worse.”
Walmart has sent technicians to clean up and repair the tornado-damaged store and hope to have it up and running again in about three days.
[Image courtesy of: Getty Images/Justin Sullivan]