HACKLEBURG, Ala. (WHNT) - It's been a long, hard road for the Hackleburg Fire Department since the tornado of April 27, 2011 tore through their town.
They lost their fire department building and much of the equipment inside.
Over the last week the fire department has started the process of closing that chapter of their lives.
As contractors continue to install the air ducts and run electrical wiring through-out the building, fire fighters have started working out of their new fire house in downtown Hackleburg.
"Moving in here a little prematurely,” said Hackleburg Assistant Fire Chief David Cantrell. “But we had to get out of the warehouse we were in, but it's pretty exciting to be back where we started."
Chief Cantrell says the past eighteen months have been challenging, the small department lost much of their equipment that day.
And since clean-up efforts have subsided and the rebuilding started, the department has not had a place to call their own, until now.
"We really just ran calls; we would have short meetings and stuff like that because we didn't have anywhere to meet,” explained Cantrell. “But I feel like now, that we have a place of unity to come back together and we can start building the department back."
And Chief Cantrell hopes the unity between his family of fire fighters will return quickly.
Operating out of an abandoned warehouse over the last several months Cantrell says, has left his department a little rusty.
"There's a lot of training, a lot of things that have to go on over the next year to eighteen months to get us back to where we are protecting the citizens the way we were on April the twenty-sixth."
Cantrell says the fire house should be finished by the end of the year.
Hackleburg has yet to rebuild the police department that was also destroyed by the April 27th tornado.
Town leaders say they are still attempting to work with FEMA to get that underway.