When I lived in North Carolina, I was in the Piedmont, a flat plateau region. We occasionally had tornado scares here and there, but most tended to stay north of us. Because of this, I wasn't aware until two weeks ago of how fast the storms can become a threat in Alabama.
On Dec. 16, I was with three other reporters listening to the police scanner in our newsroom, looking for where I might need to respond and make photographs to document the damage. As we heard reports southeast of Town Creek, I made plans to head that way. As I began driving that way, a second squall line made its way through Decatur. I decided it was unsafe and turned around.
Six minutes after arriving back at the office, we heard on the scanner that a family of four was trapped in their home after a large tree had fallen on top of it. I decided to go and made the photograph above.
Cody Simpson of Decatur Fire and Rescue looks on before helping to evacuate a mobile home that had a tree fall on top of it Dec. 16 in northwest Decatur.
About the series: Behind the Lens is a photo column that explores the thoughts and mechanics behind images of the community taken by Decatur Daily photojournalists. These photos resonate with the photographer, either through the story behind the shot or the image itself.
About the photographer: Daniel Busey is a North Carolina native who has been with The Decatur Daily since 2018. He earned an associate's degree in photojournalism from Randolph Community College in Asheboro, North Carolina. He has previously worked for The Dispatch of Lexington.