An EF-5 tornado heavily damaged a Decatur business last April. Independence Tube Corporation is a leading manufacturer of structural steel tubing throughout North America. The plant, which is located on the banks of the Tennessee River, re-opened today.
Three days after the storm, Independence Tube in Decatur was practically in ruins. Governor Robert Bentley visited the plant, which has made a drastic turnaround in the last year.
“It`s amazing what has taken place and what has transpired here with the rebuilding effort,” says Bentley.
Governor Bentley says the April 27th tornadoes destroyed jobs all across the state and it’s good to see companies putting people back to work.
“First of all, it helps our unemployment rate,” explains Bentley. “It helps families because that’s what we`re trying to do. We’re trying to rebuild lives.”
Rick Werner, president of Independence Tube Corporation, says the tornado hit them hard.
“It just would make you want to cry,” says Werner. “It was total devastation. I stopped and got some boots because we had three inches of water inside the plant.”
Now, the water and debris is cleared and the plant is ready to re-open. Werner says the support from state leaders and community members has been overwhelming.
“It surprised the insurance company because they would say, ‘Hey, you’ve got 12 cranes here and we’re paying for eight. Where are the rest of these coming from?’” describes Werner. “It was just friends, family, and strangers we didn’t even know.”
Werner says before the tornado, they had 72 workers and they’ve been able to retain most of them. Independence Tube opened in Decatur in August of 2006.