Tornado Clean Up Continues - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/29/04

Tornado Clean Up Continues

Business owners along Dedeaux Road are determined to rebound from the tornado that caused several million dollars in damages.

Since many of the damaged businesses were closed for the holiday Thursday and Friday, Monday was a busy one for the ongoing clean up and recovery.

Merchants are anxious to recover from the storm and reclaim longtime customers.

WLOX News found merchants and customers pitching in to help with clean up and repairs. The overall sentiment remains one of thankfulness. As they repair and rebuild, business owners are quick to point out that no one was injured by the sudden storm.

"My wife and I pulled up and thought it was gone. We thought the whole thing was gone. But it did not turn out that way," said video store owner, Paul Dills.

The real life plot at "Your Video Store" was a touch and go thriller with a happy ending. As a crew from across the street replaced windows, Dills reflected on an earlier mess.

"All these windows and debris and pieces of metal and this machine was out in the middle of the floor. This was covered with glass and debris," he said, while waving his arms around the storm.

"Compared to a lot of people around here, we are very lucky," he added.

That neighboring glass company took quite a hit.

"Actually it just loosened the foundation of the wall and it just gave way and crushed one of our trucks," a longtime employee explained.

As the broken building awaited a demolition crew, a lumber truck arrived with new construction materials. The glass company will recover, while helping neighbors do the same.

"Companies right down, up and down the road, they are actually coming in needing our help. So, it's pretty good," said Dawayne Ladner.

City work crews removed piles of twisted metal. Pieces of damaged businesses, once scattered down Dedeaux Road, became curbside trash.

The owner of a hair salon found very little left to salvage after the storm. But she has found some temporary space at another beauty shop in Orange Grove and put out a sign directing her longtime customers to the new location.

"We want people to know we're still open. So, we're going to get our sign erected," said Saleem Qawiy.

The owner of Snowball Express replaced signs while giving thanks it wasn't worse.

While they repair and rebuild, the merchants share a common sentiment of thanks that no one was hurt by Wednesday's tornado.

By Steve Phillips

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