Pelham reports approximately 60 homes damaged, no reported injuries
By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer
PELHAM– Approximately 60 homes were damaged in the city of Pelham following a violent tornado that ripped through the area on March 25.
According to Pelham Fire Chief Mike Reid, the heaviest damage is in the Crosscreek and Chandalar communities.
“We have approximately 60 homes damaged, and 22 have major damage to the structures. Fortunately we had no injuries reported to us. We have done primary and secondary searches of areas hit the hardest,” Reid said.
Pelham Police Chief Pat Cheatwood advised that local churches would begin providing relief efforts on the morning of March 25, asking residents not to overwhelm groups until more information becomes available.
“Church groups are trying organize efforts for volunteers. We are out assessing the needs so we can get that to the churches and volunteers so that they can have a plan in place,” Cheatwood explained. “It can be overwhelming when you don’t have enough places to put people. If everyone can sit tight and let us see what we can get through tomorrow, we will see what the needs are this weekend.”
Cheatwood also advised residents to keep an eye on their neighbors and to look out for looting. He mentioned that there might be scams popping up in the coming days and that residents should only discuss the damages with their insurance company.
“There should be no one in those areas except for essential residents, police and first responders,” he said. “Stay at home. If you don’t live in the impacted areas please stay out of there,” Cheatwood said.
The city is currently in the process of clearing the roadways, but is advising residents to stay off the roads.
Andre’ Bittas, Director of Development Services and Public Works said that the city is currently in the process of assessing damage to the homes. The city will contact affected residents and let them know when and how they can provide help.
“We are going to send building inspectors to go down and document the structure conditions. We will work with the property owners to rebuild their homes,” Bittas said.
The city has turned the Pelham Rec Center into a drop-off location to collect items that will be necessary to assist with recovery efforts.
The city is asking for items such as tarps, trash bags, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, feminine products, hand sanitizer, face masks, diapers and wipes, pillows and blankets, socks, Ensure, baby formula, pet food, Gatorade, bottled water and laundry detergent.
The center is open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. on weekdays, and is located at 2020 Ball Park Rd.
There is currently a curfew in Pelham between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. each day until Monday, March 29.
Residents are advised to monitor the city’s social media accounts, as well as local media for more updates.