Storm damage in Centreville and nearby Bibb County Airport

Alabama News
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BIBB COUNTY, Ala. – In Bibb County, the city of Centreville sustained heavy damage from storms Thursday evening.

Along Montgomery Highway, hundreds of trees were either bent or completely snapped. Crews worked well into the evening to repair downed utility poles and power lines.

Mayor Mike Oakley said he’s lived in Centreville since he was two and has never seen storm damage that significant. “Even though we’ve had tornadoes, we’ve had ice and snow damage and things, but we’ve never really been hit as hard as we were hit last night,” Mayor Oakley said.

Thursday’s damage reminded Oakley of another severe weather event nearly 50 years earlier. “I was here for the tornado of ’73 and it devastated Brent totally—wiped the city of Brent off the map and we were part of the cleanup for that; I was very young,” Oakley said.  “That was the most devastating thing anyone around here had seen.”

Also along the highway is the Bibb County Airport where some planes were flipped upside down and others were completely torn apart.

Bibb County Airport Authority Chairman Bryan Miller said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the damage left behind. “I was just completely shocked to see our hanger that we’ve worked so hard to get up, to a state where we could have airplanes in it and actually start making money for our airport—it’s all on the ground,” Miller said.

However, Miller said the storms pushed fast-forward on plans he already had for the airport. “One of the things that’s actually in the airport layout plan for us is this hangar being completely demolished—like it just got done—and getting a new hangar set built,” he said.

Damage to the planes, however—including Miller’s own—was a little harder for him to process. “It hurts,” Miller said. “It was my first airplane and my kids have spent a lot of time with me in it. We love taking trips. The family’s really enjoyed it and it’s done.”

Mayor Oakley spoke highly of all who have offered aid to help the community recover. “I can’t say enough about the volunteers,” the mayor said. “Within an hour we had probably 125 volunteers with chainsaws, with bush hooks, with axes, with bobcats, some of them with a bobcat with grappling hooks—’where do you need us, where do you need us to go, tell us.’”

Oakley said communities across the county stepped up to lend a hand to their neighbors. “All over our county, the mayor of Woodstock, Jeff Dodson, the mayor of West Blocton, Daniel Sims, the mayor of Brent, Bobby White, within minutes, they all responded,” he said.

To assist residents affected by the storms, The Centreville Fire Department is accepting a variety of donations like bottled water, cleaning supplies, and baby formula.

Mayor Oakley said he spoke with Governor Kay Ivey Friday afternoon and said she would be planning a visit to Centreville to see the damage.

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