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Dealing with 23 dead challenges tiny Alabama community

4 years 6 months 4 weeks ago Thursday, March 07 2019 Mar 7, 2019 March 07, 2019 6:56 AM March 07, 2019 in News
Source: Associated Press

BEAUREGARD, Ala. (AP) - Dealing with the dead became a huge, gut-wrenching task in a rural Alabama community where nearly two dozen people died in a tornado outbreak.

The county coroner set up a temporary command post and performed post-mortem exams in the parking lot of a middle school. He and a minister then held 17 separate meetings with relatives of the 23 people who died. Pastor Rusty Sowell says the hardest part was just opening a door and looking into the faces of people who feared the worst.

Harris says seven funeral homes in all are handling services for the victims, and one mortuary is preparing 10 bodies. But Harris says he hasn't had time to think about the emotional magnitude of the loss in a county of more than 160,000 people.

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