Pratt City marks three years since tornado strike

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People gather to mark three years of recovery in Pratt City. (Source: WBRC video) People gather to mark three years of recovery in Pratt City. (Source: WBRC video)

Dozens of people showed up Saturday in Birmingham's Pratt City area. Pratt City took a direct hit April 27, 2011 with many homes and buildings completely destroyed by the tornado. Three years later, there are new homes and buildings across the area.

People who lost their homes on April 27 are proud to say they have rebuilt. "I came back because this is vital to our community. Things happen. There's no controlling the weather," said Deatrice Stanon, who lost her home in the tornado.

Fire Station 18 was also destroyed. Since then, crews have been working out of a trailer and tent. A ribbon-cutting for the new fire station was held Saturday.

Bethel Baptist Church in Pratt City was destroyed by the April 27, 2011 tornado, but the church's pastor says the storm signified a new beginning for their congregation. According to Pastor T.L. Lewis, the first priority after the tornado was to make sure those who became homeless did not become hopeless.

The church got busy serving the community, like they've always done. On the third anniversary of the deadly tornado, the congregation is remembering all they've been through. Even though Bethel Baptist's church home was destroyed, its members march on.

"The church is people. So wherever we are, there Is the church. It's been quite an experience. But I do want to thank God. We have a wonderful congregation. They have not wavered one iota," said Lewis.

The church has their worship services inside a shopping center in Adamsville. They have been meeting there every Sunday since the summer of 2011. Soon, they will move into a brand new building where the original Bethel Baptist once stood.

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