Broad Street, Thompson Lane businesses assess damage

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Huddleston-Steele Engineering was likely totalled after Friday's tornado
Owners of businesses along Northwest Broad Street can’t put a monetary value on what was lost during the Good Friday tornado.

Cleanup and the assessment of damages are continuing Monday as many were still waiting for their insurance companies to assess the damage.

But they are thankful that no one was injured in the devastation.

“Throughout all of this, we have been thankful that no one got hurt,” said Bill Huddleston, president of Huddleston-Steele Engineering.

Huddleston-Steele Engineering’s office building at 2115 NW Board St. literally caved in due to the impact of Friday’s EF4 tornado.

“There were only six or seven (people) in the building at the time and were able to get in a bathroom and ride out the storm,” Huddleston said.

Many employees were either off for the holidays, working only four days a week due to the economy or where out to lunch.

Huddleston said he called the office Friday afternoon to warn employees of the storm as he and his wife traveled back to Murfreesboro on Interstate 65 from Birmingham, Ala. He told his staff to take cover as he and wife attempted to out run the storm.

As of Monday morning, Huddleston’s insurance company hadn’t been out to assess the damage.

But, Huddleston thinks the building is likely totaled and will have to be demolished.

Several computers and paperwork were salvaged from the building.

Huddleston-Steele had been located on Northwest Broad Street since 1955 and in its current building since 1987. A temporary office has been set up in the former location of The Vegetable Garden at 1601 NW Broad St.

Bill Leiser, former manager of J.R.’s Truck Accessory Center at 2204 NW Broad St., was unsure early Monday afternoon if the building or the merchandise inside would be a complete loss.

J.R.’s corporate officials refused to let employees enter the building and access the damage.

Leiser said the front door and back wall of the building were blown out in the storm. The back roof blew off and the front part of the roof is sagging.

“It is amazing the amount of damage one of these (tornados) can do,” he said from outside the building.

The Shell Station and Kee’s Auto Repair on Northwest Broad Street received extensive damage in the Good Friday tornado. Crews were busy cleaning up and boarding up broken windows Monday.

Utility work continued as well along Northwest Broad Street and Thompson Lane as everyone continues to pick up the pieces. Other businesses such as the former GE Plant, the former Cummings Signs, Itnolap Pallet & Crating and Stampede Dance Hall & Saloon received extensive damage. Mayfield Floor Covering and Dreamscape Landscaping were virtually destroyed. Other strip retail centers along Thompson Lane received an undetermined amount of damage.

Huddleston said he is amazed at the amount of help that has been offered.

Huddleston-Steele employees stayed until 9 p.m. Friday salvaging what they could from the office building, and they came back Saturday to help.

“It has really been like a family coming together and pulling through it,” Huddleston said. “I think everyone is so thankful that no one got hurt."

Erin Edgemon can be reached at 869-0812 and at
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Members Opinions:
April 13, 2009 at 7:48pm
We live in Palmer Heights off Haynes Drive and Kee's Auto Repair sign landed in a yard at the corner of Haynes and Morgan. We, also, have a street sign from Riverview area, D'Ann Drive.
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