Fort Payne Storm Damage: Apartments & Recycling Business Damaged, Some Injuries

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FORT PAYNE, Ala. (WHNT) - At least two people were injured when a strong storm system ripped through Fort Payne overnight.  Two apartment complexes were heavily damaged, along with a recycling business, and two homes were destroyed.

WHNT News 19's Beth Jett reports two people were injured and taken by ambulance to the hospital in Fort Payne. They were in their home which was destroyed by the storms. Carolyon McBrayer and her husband Troy suffered scratches, cuts and bruises from debris falling on them and hitting them.

Carolyon told WHNT NEWS 19 that she had just finished a prayer, asking God to protect her and her loved ones, when the storm hit. After the violence was over, she called out to her husband, "We're alive!"

Two apartment complexes were damaged, including Mountain View Apartments on Gault Avenue.  Power crews worked at the complex through the night to repair lines and restore service.

Gault Avenue is open, but crews are working between the areas of 45th and 55th streets - so please use caution if you head that way.  Most of the work is being done on 55th Street, where the apartments are located.

Fort Payne High School and Middle School are both open, so you can head that way if you need to.  They were not damaged.

Jet Polymer Recycling plant also sustained damage. Five tractor trailers were thrown around on the property, slamming into each other. One ended up on the roof.

The plant lost 50% of its power. But workers didn't stop. They helped each other, utilizing the power they did have.

The company owner said he's aiming to have the mess cleaned up and the plant fully operational by Monday morning.

Fort Payne Mayor Larry Chesser got the call about the damage to his city around 1:30 Friday morning.

By the afternoon, Chesser was optimistic that people would have the debris cleaned up and power crews would have power restored by the end of the day Friday.

Fort Payne Fire & Rescue has been working through the night at Jet Polymer Recycling facility, which is also Gault Avenue just off of Interstate 59.  WHNT News 19's Laura Christmas reports at five tractor trailers flipped at that location, and the roof is torn off in places.

Power to half of the building is gone.  WHNT News 19's Tim Hanson talked with plant representatives, who say the goal is to return to full operation by the first of next week. The plant asks all employees to report to work Friday - you'll either do your normal duty if it's in the portion of the business that has power, or assist with cleanup.

A wrecker is on the scene to remove the tractor trailers.  Company officials are on the scene to assess the damage to the business.

Jet Polymer produces and sells recycled plastic products.

WHNT News 19's crew in Fort Payne is working to get more specific details on the storm damage.  We'll have live reports Friday on WHNT News 19 This Morning.


  • Smith

    Why are you showing pictures of damage in Dekalb County? After the tornado sirens went off we turned it to WHNT News 19 to see your action and results and saw nothing. I thought that we was in the Chattanooga viewing area since they were the ones giving us weather info. Your channel covers the weather until it moves past Huntsville then you are done. This is not the first time this has happened and I am very confident it will not be the last. At least you did get some pictures of the damage though I am sure we will get to see that on prime time news tonight.

    • Another miss

      Actually WHNT was covering the storm as it happened. WAFF did NOT interrupt Olympic coverage to inform viewer of the tornado, and WAAY was not covering the weather either. I don’t usually watch WHNT, but I am ecstatic that they were on air last night during this so that I knew what was going on.

    • scott

      Ill say this, channel 9 out of Chattanooga showed a tornado warning before any Al channel did. I was flipping thru the channels and they (channel 9) showed it first. Channel 48 never did show one. Just what I seen.

      • T-Bird

        I’ll say this I was watching both WAAY (on cable on one tv) and WAFF (on another tv via old fashion antennee) from the time the warnings went out till it was past Trenton GA so I don’t know what channels y’all were watching but I’d suggest talking to your cable companies. Having said that I do not watch WHNT for weather anymore since the new chief will not cover the same areas as Dan did and when asked about it he was rude and basically a butt about it. Spencer at WAAY worked and trained under Dan (who was the best this area has ever had) and is much better the Jason ever thought about being.

    • Another miss

      Well they didn’t do a very good job last night. As soon as it was past HSV they went away. Typical. It is like anything on the east side of the state doesn’t exist. Thank goodness for WHNT last night!

  • Camping Nana

    We here in Dekalb county are like the Whos’ in Horton Heres a Who.
    Hey Jack “We’re here! We’re here! We’re here!” And yes we are part of WHNT’s viewing area!

  • Bo

    Obviously if you believe that WHNT was not covering the tornado warning in Dekalb County, you had already had your nightly doseage of Vodka! I watched Jason Simpson stay on the air until the tornado passed into Georgia.

  • Sheri

    WHNT was coverong DeKalb County. They were providing updates every 30 minutes. When the tornado siren went off around 12:45-1:00, they were broadcasting the weather for DeKalb County. So thanks WHNT for keeping us informed!

  • Smith

    On channel 19 that would be a one with a nine behind it also pronounced nineteen. Jason Simpson was not on and if he was my cable company was broadcasting the wrong channel and I doubt that.

    • Another miss

      I think you have lost this argument. Perhaps while you slept with your TV on the Olympics, you heard the sirens, opened your eyes, and thought the 6 was a 9. Poor thing. Or maybe you had Chattanooga 9 on and added the 1 in your mind. Either way you are wrong. Totally wrong. You might want to check with your cable company and ask why they have decided to make you look so foolish regarding this.

  • Jennifer

    When the tornado siren sounded in Fort Payne, I immediately turned on the the television, and Jason Simpson was on air covering the tornado warning. He stayed on air until that part of the storm passed into Georgia.

  • Chris

    I’m most disappointed they didn’t show the 10:00 news lastnight.

    I waited through 30 minutes of Jason Simpson parading around in from of the screen with his MacBook just to see David Letterman????

    Nobody watches Letterman anymore. And they skipped the news for that????

    I wanted to know how many people got shot yesterday.

    And sure enough I change the channel to WAFF 48 and they’re actually showing their news.

    I think I’ll watch Channel 48 from now on.

  • Wendy

    I can’t get cable so the only way I get good weather reports is to watch whnt live on the internet. They were online at least 5 minutes before tornado warning. They were warning people even before the sirens went off.

  • Mary Lynn Scott Jones

    WHNT was covering all of the Alabama area from the time the storms entered Alabama till they passed into West Georgia, I watched all of it to see where and how bad the storms were. And they did tell for people in the Fort Payne area to get in their safe place that it appeared there was rotation and it was in the area of Gault Ave and going toward Mentone too. Maybe you need to talk with your cable or dish company if it was not shown on your tv or open your eyes and pay attention.

  • Sarah Cox

    Jason Simpson is awesome! He saw there was something suspicious on the radar way before this turned into a tornado warning! When this was passing through Rainsville heading to Ft. Payne the warning was just for a severe thunderstorm but he clearly pointed this tornado out and said to take cover and then boom it was switched to a tornado warning right when it was hitting!! Because of Jason, me and my little girls were in the hallway prepared minutes before the official tornado warning came. Great job Jason!! I don’t watch anyone else but you!

  • Jeanne Donaldson

    WHNT DID a great job,staying with the storm till it went far to the east. On the other hand channel 48 stayed glued to the Olympics even at the worst of the storm. Disappointed in their idea of what was immediately important.

  • soldier

    to smith…why the heck would you waste your time during a tornado to tune it to another station…you full of it son. whnt was on the air and they always are so chill on it. whnt is the best.

  • Yvonne Williams

    I didn’t get to watch the news cause I don’t have cable. I live in Fort Payne and the stupid sirens went off after the tornado hit in my area. That is all I kknow and It woke me up from a sound sleep. That was just the rain, so I can only imagine how the people who had very few minutes to anything like get to a safe place felt. That is all I have to say on the matter. I am very thankful that we do have weather guys who do watch out for some, but like it was said earlier, Fort Payne and DeKalb are the black sheep of Alabama.

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