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'I don’t have words' | West Point, Georgia tornado survivors see their entire neighborhood wiped out

The tornado Sunday was the third tornado to strike Troup County, Georgia, causing severe damage, since the beginning of 2023.

WEST POINT, Ga. — In West Point, people are living the nightmare of losing all they own. They are the Georgia survivors of the storms that roared across the south over the weekend.

They are beginning the tough and long journey toward recovery and rebuilding. In West Point, which is on the Georgia-Alabama line, southwest of Atlanta, an entire neighborhood is gone.

Kyle Williams, almost in shock, can only pick at the huge and expansive shreds of what had been his home. He said Monday evening he just doesn’t know what to do, where to begin, or how to get through this.

“I don’t have words,” Williams said, seeing with his eyes what the tornado left him, but seeing with his heart his lifetime there.

Until Sunday morning, it was a tree-shaded business and home, along West Point Road, which have been in his family since his grandparents moved there. 

Williams grew up there.

“I’ve been fixing the place,” Williams said. He was not there when the tornado struck.

He’s been living in another house while restoring the old family home, "with the anticipation of one day moving here,” he said. “If I’d been a little faster on doing anything around here, I’d be dead right now. I mean, there wasn’t no surviving this.”

Across the street Monday evening, Danny Patel stopped for a word with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who was surveying all the damage and promising everyone there will be help with recovery.

Patel was fighting back tears.

He and his family have owned the West Point Motel on West Point Road for nearly 50 years. They were just beginning to secure the damaged property.

Then, Patel told 11Alive, that, tragically, when he spoke with the governor, he had just found out that his wife-- who was four and a half months pregnant--had miscarried; they lost their baby one day after they had all escaped the tornado.

Patel said he is amazed and thankful that, as he looks at what’s left of his neighborhood, there was no other loss of life.

Just “sticks and rubble” left, as Stanley Shaw described it.

The family who had rented Shaw’s home, back in the woods off of West Point Road, for nine years, huddled inside the home as the tornado ripped off the roof and pushed the walls on top of them.

Somehow, they were able to crawl out, unhurt.

“I mean it had to be God looking out for ‘em,” Shaw said, “because I can’t see how anybody gets out of something like that alive.”

Shaw is now working to find the family another place to live.

“I’ve lived in LaGrange, in this area, my whole life, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said.

Throughout the night, Monday, and into Tuesday morning, utility crews were working to make sure downed power lines are deactivated and gas lines are shut off, so cleanup and rebuilding can begin.

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