HAMILTON, Miss. (WCBI) – Clean up is underway in Hamilton.
The EF2 twister that tore through the small community, ripping up everything in its path, including the volunteer fire department.
Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department Chief Raymond Oliver said you can’t imagine what’s going through his mind right now.
“You don’t want to know.”
He’s been the chief here since the early 80’s and took on the position not long after this building was built in the late 70’s.
When Oliver and other volunteers pulled up to the fire station 15 minutes after the twister came through, they weren’t prepared for the sight that greeted them.
“It was definitely a shock when, you know, our first response when we get the call of something like that is to get here and get equipment to go help people and we got here and the roof was collapsed on top of all of our trucks and we couldn’t do anything,” said Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief, Jeremy Hester.
“We really didn’t know what to do once we pulled up and to get our vehicles to go do what we needed to do. There’s nothing here, so very emotional, kind of had a stop in our tracks and say, ‘What’s next?’ ‘What do we do next?’ So, all we knew to do here was go into action and start helping people,” said Oliver.
And that’s exactly what happened, even with all of their equipment trapped inside the remains of the building.
On top of that, some of their fellow firefighters were trapped inside their homes.
“We worked our way down the street checking houses and trying to get to them, also to get them free. As soon as they were free from their house, they started helping, also.”
Local volunteer firemen were soon joined by firefighters from other departments, including Texas fireman, Zack Evans, who made it here early Monday morning to help his hometown.
“When somebody is needing 911, this is the first person they’re going to call, so we have to get this backup and running as soon as possible so that we can help meet the people’s needs here in the community, so that’s why I’m here. I’m here to help my brother and the fire department and some of my family as well, that’s been affected by the storms, along with my very best friend. His home is completely gone.”
First responders have been doing everything they can since the tornado turned everything upside down here.
That includes responding to a house fire early Monday morning.
“They were right in the path of the tornado and their house made it through the tornado and then something like that happens. It’s a tragedy for sure.”
Luckily, firemen had cleared enough rubble Sunday afternoon to allow them to get their firetrucks and equipment out in time to respond to the house fire.