Severe storm destroys Rooks Ranch in Safford

Published 11:12 am Thursday, March 31, 2022

A barn in Safford suffered storm damage on Wednesday night.

Heavy winds and downpour of rain swept through the area, destroying the Rooks Ranch that spread across several acres of land.  The grass around the structure is covered in wood and metal. Parts on the two tractors sat still and were mixed in with assorted nails, screws, hammers and drills.

As of Thursday morning, Dallas County EMA Director Toya Crusoe said that she did not get a call regarding damage in Safford.

The other damage suffered in Safford on Highway 22 were downed trees. No one was injured.

Companies Sumter Utility and AlTech spent Thursday cleaning the property as owner Lamar Rooks assessed the damage with his wife, Beverly and their son, Kyle Rooks. The Rooks patriarch has owned the property since 1992.  His saddened, shocked eyes stared at the parts on the ground and did not speak.

The Rooks live down the street from the ranch, which Kyle Rooks said the family stayed in the basement as the storm passed.

“It’s a mess,” Kyle Rooks said. “We were very fortunate, it could’ve been worse.”

Madison Dubose, a neighbor of the Rooks, called the storm a frightening experience.

“It was very eerie and it got very silent beforehand and then got loud,” Dubose said. “Our house starting creeping and cracking and then got very silent right afterwards. It was very scary.”

The National Weather Service in Birmingham said Thursday they will send out three teams  to conduct storm surveys across multiple counties in Central Alabama. Due to the numerous areas in need of investigation, the NWS said surveys may be ongoing for the next few days.