70 children survive preschool’s destruction by Selma tornado

Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 9:35 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2023 at 10:59 PM CST
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SELMA, Ala. (WSFA) - The teachers who work at a preschool/day care in Selma are happy to be alive after surviving a tornado that destroyed their facility.

Crosspoint Christian Church’s preschool and child care center collapsed during Thursday’s storm. About 13 teachers and 70 children were inside. They all survived.

“Definitely lucky to be alive,” said church secretary Betty Roberts.

[READ MORE: Federal, local officials tour damage in Selma]

The terrifying moment is one the staff says they will never forget. They recall the moment the tornado hit.

“All of a sudden the lights went out and all you could hear was like a freight train slamming through the building, and all I could do was jump on top of my kids and protect them,” said day care teacher Shana Latham. “It was just a true act of God that protected us yesterday.”

Some teachers hunkered down in bathrooms. Roberts said she took shelter in an office with eight babies.

“Jesus protect us, just protect us. That’s all I was saying,” Roberts said.

The original idea was to shelter in the hallways.

“We would have been sustained damage had we been in the hallway,” said day care teacher Sheila Stockman.

The main church building also has roof damage and structural damage. This is just one example of widespread damage across the city.

The teachers say it’s still unclear what will come next for the day care. They hope to rebuild.

According to the National Weather Service, the damage is consistent with at least an EF2 tornado in Dallas County.

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