5 Years After Tornado, Branchville Rebuilds

5:50 PM, Mar 15, 2013   |    comments
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Branchville, SC (WLTX) -- Five years ago a tornado caused widespread destruction in the Orangeburg County town of Branchville.

"It was almost like a war zone," Branchville Mayor Glenn Miller said. 

Miller never expected a battle of nature to break out on his special day. 

"I can clearly remember because it was my birthday. We were out in the yard and just walking around with friends. There was no warning," he said. 

A March 15th of 2009, an EF-3 tornado ripped through the town causing $1.7 million in damage. Branchville's auditorium, town hall, and a couple of businesses were leveled.

"Where we're standing now it was bricks, debris, desks, file cabinets, papers," Miller said. "It was just a mess here."

After the storm, the town's only grocery store Ott's and a restaurant called The Churn rebuilt. But some didn't.

"Duke's Farm Supply, it was havoc," he said.

Now, Branchville is almost back to normal, but Mayor Miller believes it was the strength of the town's citizens that have brought back it's spirit.

"If you look down the main streets of Branchville, it's looking good and it's going to look even better," Miller said. "We're just Branchvillers and we are survivors."

Branchville was supposed to hold the ribbon cutting for the new town hal Friday, but an inspector said they needed a guardrail on the steps. The ribbon cutting will now take place April 2nd.

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