“We had 139 people who took refuge in the Riverside Storm Shelter Wednesday, not including Fire Department and city personnel,” Councilwoman Rachelle Painter said.
She said residents began coming to the shelter between 2-3 p.m. Wednesday.
“Initially, it was two or three people at a time,” she said. “The largest amount of people began coming in around 5 p.m. on through the night.”
Painter said no one stayed overnight.
“Everyone was gone by about 10 p.m.,” she said. “It was the largest use of the storm shelter for a weather event since it was built in 2006. It was very successful. We had no medical problems, and provided food and drinks for everyone. There were no complaints.”
Painter said the residents who sought shelter gave very positive comments.
“Everyone was very thankful for the food and drink, and the safety,” she said. “We have no reports of injuries from Riverside. Personally, I’m thankful for the help of the citizens with storm cleanup. And I’m thankful it was not as bad in Riverside as it could have been.”
Christine Arnold, executive director for the St. Clair County Chapter of the American Red Cross, said shelters in Pell City, Cropwell, Springville and Ashville were opened Wednesday.
“We had 97 people seek shelter at First Baptist Church in Pell City, 10 in Springville at the First United Methodist Church, and 10 in Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Cropwell,” she said. “They all left after the storms passed over. By about 11 p.m. they were all gone. They used the shelters as storm shelters. Normally, the shelters are used by people who are displaced due to storm damage.”
Arnold said the shelters in Pell City, Cropwell and Springville were closed at about 11 p.m. Wednesday.
“Ashville Middle School was opened as a triage location for the people coming out of Shoal Creek,” she said. “Once all the people who needed to be transported to the hospital were transported, the school was used as a shelter for the four remaining displaced residents.”
Arnold said Ashville Middle School remains the designated shelter in the county.
“It can accommodate the most people and has support services in place and electricity,” she said.
Arnold said the Red Cross has received many donations so far for the displaced residents.
“Blankets are still needed,” she said. “Donations of blankets can be dropped off in the Pell City Community Center on 19th Street or at Ashville Middle School directly. We can also use financial donations, which can be given at the Pell City Community Center or online at www.redcross.org.”
The Daily Home and St. Clair Times office in Pell City and The Daily Home offices in Talladega and Sylacauga are also collecting monetary donations for tornado victims on behalf of the American Red Cross.
Arnold said she received reports of 175 people taking shelter at the St. Clair County Courthouse in Pell City Wednesday evening.
“There were other places all over the county that people took shelter in as well,” she said.
St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital president for rural hospital operations Sean Tinney said the hospital did not receive a big influx of storm-related injuries.
“We did have at least 70 community members seek shelter in the basement of the hospital Wednesday night,” he said. “From what we know, the morning storms were worse for Pell City than the evening storms. St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital received typical emergency department traffic, but nothing out of the ordinary.”
Contact Elsie Hodnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.