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Alabama Hotel Owner Talks About Tornado

By Phyllis Smith, NewsRadio 1080 KRLD
In the aftermath of a severe tornado, residents wander the streets near downtown Tuscaloosa, Alabama surveying the damage on April 28, 2011. (credit: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

In the aftermath of a severe tornado, residents wander the streets near downtown Tuscaloosa, Alabama surveying the damage on April 28, 2011. (credit: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (CBSDFW.COM) – The fierce storms that raced through the south has killed nearly 200 people…about 130 of those in Alabama alone.

KRLD’S Phyllis Smith spoke to a business owner in Tuscaloosa, Alabama who survived a powerful tornado, but is shocked by the devastation around him.

Mehul Vashi has owned the Old English Inn for over 2 years now. He says the tornado came so fast he didn’t have time to prepare. By the time he saw it on TV, he didn’t have an evacuation plan.

After the twister passed…he came out from the safety of his basement to find his hotel was standing, but the damage was extensive. He says the roof and gutters are destroyed, cracks are in the walls, and glass is everywhere.

But it was what Vashi saw outside that was jaw dropping. He says businesses all around him were reduced to rubble, including one new building that was just going up. A power pole had fallen right through the middle of it.

Vashu says homes in the area are also destroyed, and people are walking around in survival mode looking for loved ones to make sure they’re safe.

Vashi’s family was with him at the hotel, and they’re all ok…but he says it’s hard to talk about what he’s seen. He says there’s not enough words to describe the devastation.

And while he’ll be spending time cleaning up debris and repairing his livelihood….Vashi is asking anyone to help with the victims of this terrible tragedy.