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Storm Destroys Montgomery Skating Rink, Preschoolers Inside

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A powerful storm slammed into a Montgomery skating rink filled with more than 30 preschoolers Wednesday, destroying the building as youngsters huddled inside.

One child suffered a broken bone and another had a head laceration, but everyone else was fine.

Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright says he's amazed that anyone got out of the building.

Authorities said they were unsure whether a tornado or strong thunderstorm hit the Fun Zone Skate Center, which has a preschool during the day. An apartment complex across the street had major damage, but no injuries were reported.

The storm hit the skating rink about 10:15 a.m., when 31 children and four adults were inside for day care. The manager made everyone get into the lone section of the building that survived the high winds.

In Hope Hull south of Montgomery, an apparent tornado snapped dozens of trees in a field beside Pintlala Elementary School. The top of a tree fell on to a walk-in cooler, but the school wasn't damaged otherwise.

A few homes were damaged in southwest Alabama, and downpours of as much as four inches of rain caused minor flooding.

In the southeast Alabama town of Elba, police investigator Tony Harrison said several people were sent to a hospital after storms overturned trailers near a rural intersection.

He said tornadoes have touched down in a couple of places.

Damage was also reported in Covington County near the Florida state line and in the Hamilton Crossroads Community, south of Brundidge. A water tower was destroyed, the fire department heavily damaged, roof ripped off a go-cart business and a number of trailers were hit.

The storms were part of a system moving into the state from the west. At least eight people were hurt in Mississippi, and one person was killed in Louisiana.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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