Clean-up begins in Franklin after tornado

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– Power was restored today in several parts of Robertson County after a tornado touched down Saturday. In the town of Franklin, 30 homes have been destroyed and more than 30 damaged.

 Utility crews spent the day working on power lines that were ripped down Saturday. Enough power has been restored for school to reopen tomorrow — but a lot of work remains.

Debris caused by Saturday’s tornado remains scattered across the southeast side of the town of Franklin. As clean-up continued Monday morning, storm survivor Rodney Alan Green returned to where his home once was.  He and his 6 children tried to take shelter in a bathtub when the storm hit.

“Next thing I know the trailer house is rocking and rocking and then a tree hit the trailer and the house busted open and then the wind came in thee and the next thing I know we went in the air spinning,” said Green. “We hit that car right there, my son’s car, then we went up and hit the tree and turned and took us across the road and wrapped around that tree and the whole trailer house busted open and thrower us about 40 yards out there in that field.”

A twisted frame is all that’s even remotely recognizable from Green’s home.

“When I hit the ground and the rain woke me up I said, I’m still alive,” said Green. “Because the last thing I said was, we are all dead.” 

A few blocks away is what remains of another house wedged against the home of Angel Funk.

“And it had rolled, this is the bottom of that house,” said Funk.

Funk says she and her boyfriend didn’t feel or hear the impact. But after the storm passed they quickly realized the crisis had just begun.

“When we come out, he comes screaming, call 911, that boy is in there,” said Funk. “Everyone was looking for him and he got out.”

The devastation brought several volunteers to town, among them Krissi and Steven Butler who drove in from Huntsville Sunday.

“We woke up yesterday and wen to church and then we were trying to decide if we were going to evening service, and he said I feel like we need to go down there,” said Krissi Butler. “So we came down last night, helped until dark and then went home, and he took off work and said we are going back in the morning.”

People who want to help with the clean-up are being asked to sign up with the county before showing up. Providing long term housing is the challenge for local officials right now.

The tornado formed northwest of Hearne and cut across a popular animal safari park which is home to about 800 animals. None of the animals at the park were hurt.

Some shelters and fencing were damaged and owner Jason Clay says a small army of volunteers came out to help.

“I am very thankful everybody showed up,” said Clay. “We got trees moved we got fences us, basically now we got to do a clean-up.”

Clay was able to reopen the park to visitors Monday. But up Hwy 79, the recovery effort in Franklin will take much longer.