NC fire department hit by tornado, loses 3 trucks, fire station

Updated: May. 24, 2017 at 12:23 PM EDT
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AUTRYVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) - The Autryville Fire Department's building was destroyed by Tuesday's tornado, but despite that, the fire chief said his crew is ready to respond to calls.

Their building was directly hit by the EF-1 tornado around 5:15pm. The tornado brought winds up to 110 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Eight people, including six firefighters, were inside at the time, but walked away unhurt, according to Autryville Fire Chief Andrew Hawkins.

The roof of the volunteer department was ripped off and tossed behind the building. One of the support walls was knocked down on top of three of their four fire engines.

Chief Hawkins said those vehicles, which are worth $420,000, were destroyed.

Just 30 minutes after the tornado hit the small town of 200, the fire department was back in service, accepting emergency calls.

"I think it will sink in as the days go by just how bad it is to us, but our primary responsibility right now is fire protection and life safety and this community," Hawkins told CBS North Carolina. "I think as long as we can keep that going it's going to keep a fire in our guys."

For now, Chief Hawkins said the fire department will work out of town hall with their one fire truck.