Tippah County homes, fire station torn apart by last week’s tornado

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THREE FORKS, Miss. -- About 108 homes in the Three Forks community are damaged thanks to last week's storms. The Three Forks Volunteer Fire Department confirms about 48 of them are total losses. The tornado also flattened the fire station.

"It's just a slab now," said Chief Joey Jackson.

In the yellow lines, where fire trucks once parked, is now just mud and mess.

"This is their lifeline. We're the ones that go out to help them when they need something, and then we come here and we don't have anything," Jackson said.

Jackson said his station had five equipment trucks of varying kinds.

All that's left Monday is one that does not work, on loan from the Forestry Department. It is from Army surplus. The department has not sent it back yet.

Jackson said one of his trucks will be in the shop for three to six months just for body repair.

The station was not the only loss. Four of the 25 firefighters lost their homes Monday.

"The tornado hit and it demolished our fire department, our houses," said Three Forks resident Hailey Weatherly. Her husband is a firefighter.

They and their three daughters are staying at Oakland Baptist Church.

Their home is also completely gone.

"We were devastated, of course, you know, two days before Christmas to find that we didn't have a place to live, that we didn't have presents, we didn't have anything for our kids, but like I said, everybody's been so wonderful to us," Weatherly said.

The church's doors have been open, and these volunteers have been preparing hot meals for the community.

Donations are pouring in, and many in the community are planning to rebuild.

That includes the fire station. Chief Jackson said he is already getting estimates.

He is not sure insurance will cover all his costs.

"It'll probably cover 3/4 of it," he said.

He is confident his department will dig itself out to protect what's left of the Three Forks community.

The fire department set up an account at Peoples Bank in Walnut. The department is accepting donations to help it rebuild.