COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) - Surveillance cameras at an auto repair shop in Columbia captured dramatic video of Monday’s EF-2 tornado as it crossed the street and delivered a direct hit to the business.
The cameras belong to Beal’s Collision Center on Old Foxworth Road. The business was in the direct path of the dangerous tornado as it tore a nearly seven-mile path of destruction through Marion County.
The Beal’s Collision Center cameras filmed the approaching tornado from several angles outside the building.
In the video, you can see a funnel cloud starting to form before sparks fly from a transformer as the power is knocked out. Then, the funnel passes directly into the building.
Another surveillance camera in the business office captured the destruction from the inside.
Beal’s Collision Center owner Blake Beal said about a dozen employees, managers and customers were at the business when the winds started to swirl. Beal said they knew they had to take action when they saw the tornado cross the Pearl River.
“We took immediate action to get everybody down into a safe place and covered up, and we just started praying for protection,” said Beal. “It seemed like it took forever for it to hit us, but once it hit, it was quick and fast, and everybody was OK. We had a couple of people with some pretty bad bruising, but no life-threatening injuries.”
Beal’s Collision Center was not the only business to receive damage from Monday’s storms. Columbia Mayor Justin McKenzie said 12 businesses or commercial buildings were destroyed by the twister.