HACKLEBURG, Ala. (WAAY)- Hackleburg has been in the re-building process since an EF-5 tornado destroyed the town on April 27, 2011. For almost two years now, the community has been working together to bring new life to the town.
In Hackleburg today, it's becoming harder to see the remnants of the tornado that tore through the town nearly two years ago.
More than half of the 236 homes and apartments that were destroyed have been built back. The town now has two pharmacies, and although they don't have a grocery store, a Dollar General has settled in the town.
"I lived here for 10 years and think things have come back really well," said Jason Harris. "The people responded really well and the community came together. I know people have been through a rough time, but God's been good here."
The Hackleburg Volunteer Fire Department is putting the finishing touches on their new station.
"Just backing in here that first night, even when the heat wasn't on yet, it almost brought tears to your eyes to realize that you can see the light at the end of the tunnel now," said assistant fire chief David Cantrell. "We're finally starting to look like a fire department again."
Cantrell said that the new facility has an extra bay, office space and a safe room. There are also cameras on the inside and outside of the building that will be able to show a live feed of what's going on during severe weather.
Cantrell said that it's been important to make the town feel safe during storms since April 27.
"We can always say that most likely we'll never be hit by an F5 tornado again, but convincing people who lived through that is impossible," said Cantrell. "The kids that live in this town that go to school in what we consider a trailer park now, they're terrified every time it thunders, so people are very conscious and aware of storms and that a disaster could happen again. They don't take it lightly having somewhere to go for shelter."
The school has a concrete storm shelter on its property that can be used by the public after school hours. It can hold up to 600 people. A 98 person shelter is also in the works to be built near the fire station.
"We used to put some concrete blocks in the ground and think it would be OK, but when an F5 tornado hits your town with over 250 mph winds, you realize that you need something substantial to provide a safe haven for your family," said Cantrell.
Ground has started to move on the site of the new Hackleburg School. They're hoping to have it finished by winter of 2014 and open for classes in fall of 2015.
The Wrangler plant is already open and hopes to start production sometime in March with the potential to expand in the next few years.