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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -
Governor Robert Bentley visited the town of Kimberly in Jefferson County on Wednesday to tour the storm-damaged area.
Five residents chose not to go to the community shelter and two were killed in the storm. They've been identified as Dorothy Jean Hollis, 60 and her 33-yera-old son Carlton Earl Hollis.
At 1 p.m., the governor began his tour of the Kimberly area, visiting the Kimberly Volunteer Fire Department and the Kimberly Church of God. The fire department was destroyed and the church was heavily damaged in the EF-1 tornado that hit Monday night.
"We're glad to be here with the people in Kimberly and sorry to see all of the destruction but we rejoice in the fact that no lives were lost here and that's the most important thing," Bentley said.
"We're not unfamiliar with tornadoes, obviously they've hit the state. Since I've been governor, we've probably toured 80 or 90 places that have been hit by tornadoes," he estimated.
The governor said the state received $72 million in mitigation dollars from FEMA after the 2011 storms, and they've put $59 million of that amount toward building safe rooms across the state. The money helped fund 400 community safe rooms and 4,000 individual safe rooms in Alabama. Bentley said nearly 100 safe rooms were used during this week's severe weather.
"Lives are being saved today because of the safe rooms we're putting into place all over the state of Alabama and the fact that people are more cognizant and ready to listen to warnings," Bentley said.
"Each time we have one of these, we learn more from it, we become more and more prepared, the people of Alabama become more prepared, and I think that's saving lives," the governor added.
Several houses and trailers in Kimberly were damaged after Monday night's tornadoes and straight line winds hit. Many of the fallen trees were extremely old and had massive trunks.
The neighborhood that was hit is about a half mile away from the Kimberly Church of God and the fire station.
The City of Kimberly released a statement on Wednesday, thanking all of the fire departments, police departments, churches, agencies and other volunteers who helped respond to the tornado strike since Monday.