Rebuilding one year after Polk County tornado

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POLK COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — People impacted by the deadly Polk County tornado say they are still rebuilding, one year later.

The tornado killed two people and damaged or destroyed more than fifty homes.

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On the one year anniversary of the November 30, 2016 tornado, Karen Gatlin looks on at her mother’s house under construction. It had to be built from the ground up, after it was destroyed in the tornado.

“It has been very devastating for her because she has been uprooted from her home. This was actually her family’s property. So she has actually been on this same spot since she was born,” Gatlin said.

While her mother lost everything, Gatlin says it could have been worse.



“The roof was off the house except for one small area, actually where her bed was, was the only area there was a roof remaining. The living room, the kitchen had collapsed into itself actually, the living room door and window was actually into the living room, inside of the home,” Gatlin said.

Nearby, a fire station and post office are also under construction, both were destroyed in the tornado. Downed trees and abandoned homes are also evidence of what happened. Gatlin says community members rallied together to help.

“There were just numerous people who helped and helped for long term,” Gatlin said.

A long term rebuilding process some may not realize.

“I think a lot of people, maybe a month later thought, ‘Oh they were hit by that tornado and everyone is fine now,’ and that isn’t the situation. It is a year later and a lot of people are still struggling,” Gatlin said.

The new fire station costs $100,000 and is expected to be completed within a couple of months.