On Monday evening, a deadly tornado tore through Birmingham, Alabama, destroying buildings, injuring people and taking a teen’s life.
Elliott Hernandez, just 14, was killed when his family’s home collapsed on him and his relatives. They were trapped in the basement, and several others were injured.
“They were doing what they were supposed to be doing,” Fultondale Police Chief D.P. Smith said, according to the Associated Press.
At least thirty people were injured as a result of the tornado, and many lost power as well.
“The people of Alabama are praying for y’all this morning,” Gov. Kay Ivey said at a news conference. “And we’re here as a sign of our commitment to your recovery. Homes and business can be rebuilt, but losing a young soul to a storm like this is beyond heartbreaking.”
Also committed to the community’s recovery was a restaurant staple: Waffle House.
Though the Waffle House in Fultondale was also affected by the power outage, they were able to pivot by hauling out a propane-fueled grill and cooking up burgers.
“No power – No problem!” WBRC-TV’s Janice Rogers shared on Facebook on Tuesday. “Waffle House workers cooking food ‘outdoors’ for rescue workers and others in Fultondale.”
WBRC-TV reported that Full Moon Bar-B-Que also helped feed the community.
At some point, the Waffle House ran out of hamburger buns — but a local Arby’s had their back, and the meals kept getting sent out.
“A tornado ravaged through neighborhoods right outside of Birmingham (Fultondale), Alabama, in the middle of the night last night — leaving devastation and knocking out power for thousands of people,” Melanie Renee posted in the Blackstone Griddle Facebook group on Tuesday. “Waffle House amazingly whipped out the Blackstone to feed rescue workers.”
“We are thankful to have the Waffle House Food Truck in Fultondale, AL, feeding the First Responders!” Waffle House posted on Facebook. “Our thoughts are with those who have been affected by the storm.”
Many other locals, both businesses and individuals, came through with offers of help for the community as well. T-Mobile set up a booth in a parking lot, offering WiFi and charging stations. Porky’s Pride restaurant served first responders, work crews and volunteers.
“We cannot express enough gratitude for all of the volunteers, law enforcement agencies, fire departments and local restaurants coming together for our community in our time of need,” the Fultondale Police Department posted on Tuesday.
And the people delivered, too. They dropped off all sorts of vital supplies that displaced families desperately needed.
“It is truly heartwarming to see everyone come together during our communities time of need,” the police department shared on Wednesday. “We are grateful for all of the donations that we have received. Thank you for your support and generosity.”
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