Autauga County reports deaths after Thursday storms

Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 2:15 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2023 at 6:03 AM CST
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AUTAUGA COUNTY (WSFA) - Relief efforts are underway in areas across central Alabama, including in Autauga County where multiple deaths have been confirmed after tornadoes swept across the central part of the state Thursday.

Shortly before 6 p.m., interim Autauga County Sheriff David Hill broke the news that six deaths had been confirmed in his county. He said the search continues amid the devastation and that the discovery of more fatalities was possible.

Further details were limited, but Hill said the deaths happened in the Old Kingston area, around county roads 40 and 21, an area Autauga County EMA Ernie Baggett previously confirmed had multiple damaged homes, trees down and injuries.

Baggett said a staging area has been set up at White Pond Baptist Church, located at 1155 Co. Rd. 49 in Marbury, and that search operations will begin from there starting at 6:30 a.m. Friday.

Baggett told the Associated Press that the fatalities were scattered across multiple homes in the Old Kingston community and that both mobile homes and conventional homes were damaged.

The EMA director added that at least 12 people were injured severely enough to be taken to hospitals by emergency responders, though he didn’t know the extent of their injuries.

So far, Autauga County is the only place where deaths have been reported, despite tornadoes hitting several densely populated areas, injuring multiple people as the storms tracked eastward for miles.

Baggett also reported damage along Co. Rd. 68 and Hwy. 31 all the way to the county line, with multiple trees and power lines down, noting this area was the top concern for first responders.

County Croner Buster Barber, who lives along Co. Rd. 68 said it was one of the hardest hit spots, and said residents’ personal belongings are scattered.

Multiple agencies, such as neighboring Chilton County’s EMA, are assisting with mutual aid.

First responders on the seen near CR 68 and HWY 31
First responders on the seen near CR 68 and HWY 31(WSFA)

Prattville police are asking that people avoid the intersection of Hwy. 31 and Hwy. 82 due to significant storm damage. Crews are working in the area now and say it may be closer to 8 p.m. before roadways are opened back up in the area.

Law enforcement officials are reporting damage to a store, fire department and a church in the Marbury area. The side of the Marbury VFD building was ripped off and parts of the roof have collapsed. Thankfully, no one was inside at the time.

With tornado damage in parts of Alabama, Spire Energy wants to encourage customers to contact them if they smell natural gas. Someone is available to assist customers on the Alabama emergency line 24/7, and if a customer does smell natural gas – a rotten egg smell leave the area immediately and find a safe space. Call the emergency line at 800-292-4008 or call 911

Autauga County Disaster Relief Fund

The Central Alabama Community Foundation has created the Autauga County Disaster Relief Fund. This fund has been created to assist citizens that have been impacted by the storms. Funds will be used to support both the immediate as well as long-term needs of citizens in Autauga County. To make a donation, you can mail a check payable to CACF, 114 Church Street, Montgomery, AL 36104, and reference Autauga County Disaster Relief or click here.


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