Sign of hope: Dog rescued from rubble in deadly Alabama tornado

Families in Alabama are still trying to make sense of a deadly tornado that left complete devastation in its wake on Monday.

In the city of Fultondale, one of the hardest hit areas, the Williams family home was destroyed by a tornado. The family was able to survive the tornado by riding out the storm in a tornado shelter.

“Just as soon as we got in there, it just came down on top of us. We were trapped underneath some stuff for about 15, 20 minutes until our neighbors came, helped us get out,” Jason Williams said.

We’re continuing our coverage from ground zero of the Alabama tornado throughout the day on Channel 2 Action News

At what was left of Williams’ home, he and some helpers celebrated a small victory amid the devastation: They rescued the family dog Smokey from where it was trapped by falling debris. The dog spent hours near what was left of the basement.

Saving the dog was no small thing for a family that lost everything else, he said.

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“I’m just so proud that Smokey is OK. One of my daughters had some guinea pigs and the other one had a turtle. and I can’t find them. I just found part of the guinea pig cage,” he said.

Channel 2′s Tony Thomas was at ground zero in Fultondale Tuesday. He said no matter where you looked there was pure devastation.

The storm cut a quarter-mile swath through Fultondale.

The weather service on Tuesday night said the twister was an EF-3 with 150 mph winds.

Fultondale also caught the tail end of an EF- 4 tornado that ripped across Alabama, from Tuscaloosa to northern Jefferson County on April 27, 2011, killing 65 people and injuring 1,500 along a damage path more than 80 miles (130 kilometers) long, according to the National Weather Service.

“Sadly, here in Fultondale we are very experienced with this kind of thing,” Fultondale Fire Chief Justin McKenzie said.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report