Central Alabama Storm Claims A Man's Life


By Heather VacLav

A possible long track tornado passed through nine Alabama counties late Friday night, but no damage could amount to the loss of a life.

According to the Tallapoosa County Emergency Management Agency, the long lived supercell tore through Tallapoosa County and hit the Dadeville-Jackson’s Gap area, killing Todd Hodge.
“Unfortunately my father in law couldn't get out of the trailer in time,” Chris Collier said choking up, “He didn’t make it.”
Hodge was in his late fifties and lived in a mobile home off of County Road 49 in the Eagle Creek community. The likely tornado ripped through his area and tore up his home, with Hodge inside.
Shortly after the storm subsided, friends and family drove to Hodge’s house to check up on him, and searched for nearly two hours.
“When we got here we just found out they couldn't find Todd, and we looked and looked and looked, and they finally found him,” family friend Kristen Fuller said.
Area fire fighters pulled Hodge’s body from debris close to where his mobile home once stood.
As the National Weather Service surveyed the area for signs of confirming a tornado, Hodge’s friends and family were combing through the debris near his house, trying to find what’s left to remember him by.
Hodge’s friends and family said after the April 2011 tornadoes, they were in disbelief another violent storm could hit so close to home again.
“I remember how it was when my family lost everything,” Fuller said shaking her head in shock. “I couldn’t, just imagine how they feel, they have nothing. They lost their clothes, their home; I mean [Chris Collier] even lost his family, the only family they had left.
Todd Hodge was the only person that died in Alabama from Friday's storms. However, the Tallapoosa County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) says with the strength of the storms it could have been much worse.
“We are very fortunate not to have more fatalities than we do with the violence of this weather,” Joe Paul Boone, Tallapoosa County EMA Director, said.
And for as many people who think it will never happen to them, sadly, the storm victims say all it takes is just once.
“You just never know, it really scares you, you just never know,” Collier said.
Hodge’s family is left picking up the pieces of their town, their homes and the life of a father and friend.
The Tallapoosa County EMA said it will continue to work with the Red Cross, Salvation Army and a team of volunteers to take care of the remaining storm victims as long as needed.




(Todd Hodge's friends and family chose to talk with CBS-8 exclusively about Hodge's tragic death.)

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