One year after tornado Columbia continues rebuilding


This week, it will have been one year since an EF-3 tornado destroyed parts of Marion, Lamar and Jones Counties.

Five people were killed, and 50 injured in Columbia and North Laurel.

WHLT’s Candace Coleman went back to see what it looks like now.

It’s an extraordinary video that gained national attention when he found it.

William Bozeman’s phone was recording the tornado as it hit last December.

It was at Bumper to Bumper Auto on Highway 98.

The business was one of about 40 in the area that had to patch things up or start over.

Bozeman says it was the many volunteers who stepped up afterwards that really helped, “it was nice, it was…you don’t really see that anymore.”

According to the National Weather Service, the tornado spun around for 12 miles in the small town.

“We already got our escape routes planned. We aren’t going to get caught in it again…not in the building. We’re going to go somewhere else,” Bozeman said.

Further west on highway 13, about 30 homes were damaged.

Charles Harper with Gray and Harper Builders says he’s worked on at least four, “getting down here…building…helping…it makes a man feel good…something that you can give back to the community.”

Right now his crew is fixing storm damage at Eaton Temple Church of God and Christ.

“We’ve been working on this church for like a couple months now. And right now we’re putting the roof back on it,” Harper said.

One year after the tornado, Columbia continues to pull the pieces together.

Bare concrete slabs and dense tree lines serve as reminders for not only the devastation, but the rebound as well.

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