A trailer where three died was tossed into the neighbors yard after a tornado hit the Rosalie, Ala., community on Wednesday, Nov 30, 2016.

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Alabama storm damage

Three people in Rosalie, Ala., were killed and at least a dozen others were injured as storms smashed through Jackson County and into DeKalb County overnight.

Jackson County EMA Director Mike Ashburn said three people were killed within the town limits of Rosalie along Alabama Highway 71 where a tornado touched down about 12:30 a.m. CST.

The National Weather Service in Huntsville confirmed today that an EF-2 tornado swept through the area.  

All three people who died were inside a mobile home along with two other people, said Chris Summerford, a cousin to the victims.

The victims ranged in age from 20 to 26, he said. Their mother and a 4-year-old boy were also in the mobile home during the storm, but survived, Summerford said.

The woman had serious injuries, he said. The boy suffered a fractured arm.

"That little boy had a nail stuck in his back, but he'll be OK," he said. "He's tough. He's tougher than me."

He spoke to the Times Free Press in a flattened shopping plaza about a quarter-mile south of the mobile home.

Only one corner of the Rosalie Plaza Grocery is still standing. Summerford, who lives nearby, came to the store to try to help clean up after the apparent tornado.

He helped the owner escape the rubble and also found the owner's dog amid the wreckage, he said.  

Power is out across the area. Trees and power lines are down.

At least 50 structures were damaged or destroyed in Jackson County, he said.

The storm passed close to Rosalie Elementary School but Ashburn said he didn't believe there was any damage. Nearby Macklin Baptist Church and its fellowship hall sustained significant damage, he said.

Ashburn said as day breaks, Jackson County officials will begin a house-to-house search to start accounting for all residents in the storm's path. He said power lines and trees were blocking some roads, slowing progress in some areas.

In DeKalb County, EMA Director Anthony Clifton said at least 10 people have been transported to area hospitals for treatment of injuries and at least 60 structures suffered damage as the storm headed northeast from the county line.

Clifton said the apparent tornado cut a line from Alabama Highway 117 all the way to Alabama Highway 75 at Cartersville, Ala.

The town of Ider stands in that path.

A children's daycare in the Ider area was hit on Highway 117 where the family who operated it were sheltering inside, Clifton said. There were no children clients of the daycare present.

"There were three children and four adults in the daycare," Clifton said. "Six of the seven people were transported to the hospital.

"The three adults — it's my understanding — were considered in critical condition," Clifton said.

The victims at that site had to be extricated by firefighters, he said.

Four other people were transported to the hospital from sites on County roads, 803, 782 and 141, he said.

Clifton said of the 60 homes damaged, 25 were "completely destroyed." There were also at least six poultry houses destroyed by the tornado, he said.

"We have ongoing search and rescue operations and we're trying to cut trees to access some of the more remote areas," he said.

Stay with the Times Free Press for more on this developing story.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569.