Alabama storm victim to spend first Mother's Day in shelter
Leicia Fairchild and her son, Christian, survived last week's devastating storms in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
May 7th, 2011
09:07 PM ET

Alabama storm victim to spend first Mother's Day in shelter

Leicia Fairchild had only one thing on her mind as a tornado ripped apart her home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, last week.

"My son, my son, I got to get to my son," Fairchild recalls.

Fairchild was relieved to find her 8-week-old son, Christian, unharmed in her mother's home down the hill. But her elation has turned into despair as she gets ready to spend her first Mother's Day in a shelter with more than 200 others displaced by last week's devastating storms.

"I pictured Mother's Day at home with his father, and happy and everything, and it's far from happy. I’m in a shelter with my son," she said.

The American Red Cross set up the shelter just a few miles outside Tuscaloosa, where a massive tornado cut a 5.9-mile-long path of destruction last week. More than 5,700 structures were damaged and destroyed, affecting an estimated 13,700 people, a mayoral spokeswoman said. The city has held off on releasing an official count of the dead, but CNN last reported the death toll at 50.

Ground zero in Tuscaloosa: Horror and hope, tears and prayers

Fairchild was sitting at home with the father of her baby when she heard a loud noise and looked out the window and saw a tornado heading for her house.

"We ran and just dove under the sink and the whole house lifted up and started to go with the wind, and we were just praying to God the whole time and all I could think about was my baby,” Fairchild said Saturday as she sat in the shelter's cafeteria.

Before the storm had ended, she was running down the hill to see if her mother's home was still there.

"They pulled nails out of my feet where I had to run through my house. We had to climb over a huge tree that landed on our house that was blocking the door, and I had to climb over that tree. I was determined to get to my son."

The child was unharmed. Fairchild's mother and the boy's father also survived, but their homes were destroyed.

Fairchild hopes to leave the shelter soon and move into an apartment. Her first Mother's Day wasn’t supposed to be like this.

"He's a blessing. I get to tell him he lived through a tornado at 8 weeks old."

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Filed under: Alabama • Tornadoes • Weather
soundoff (371 Responses)
  1. Roger

    I just have to say, she has such a nice rack!

    May 8, 2011 at 4:51 am | Report abuse |
  2. Yvon

    Glad to know that you & Christian are safe, Leicia. Keep your head up – you have a beautiful baby and a beautiful smile. Keep smiling and keep true to your goals. We're all pulling for you! 🙂 God bless you both!

    May 8, 2011 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Yvon

      ... and Happy Mother's Day!

      May 8, 2011 at 5:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. Peter

    It is unfortunate that a country of this stature, who rules the world, from the skies like a god ,and lacks comprehensive leadership to deal with these pressing issues...where are the Presidents akin to our late leaders that took the initiative and got things done, America has become a cold, hostile place to live, We lack the sense of unity that made us what we are...There are hundreds of thousand unemployed, Why can't the government promote an agency akin to the peace corps, that utilizes the young folks sitting on their a$$ and make them earn their unemployment check by working in this storm zone, to rehabilitate and get these folks back on their would promote a culture of selflessness and charity and would without a question cause a paradigm shift in the minds of our youth, This is what makes a nation great! ...Our former Presidents built dams with the unemployed, without that community mindset we would all be speaking German, as it helped us win WW2 via the Industrial revolution which depended heavily on the Electricity those dams produced....Our country is on a road to extinction...this play station culture is thoroughly unsustainable!

    May 8, 2011 at 5:02 am | Report abuse |

    She lives in Alabama. CNN should talk to her about her life with that baby before and after the winds blew. Look at these comments to get a sample of what she's been called.

    May 8, 2011 at 5:10 am | Report abuse |

    @Emmanuel Goldman flying spagetti monster? seriously? refrencing South Park huh grow up man to each its own why do you have to trash on other ppls beliefs if you don't believe in God then leave it at that. Call it what you like she makes a good point people died she didn't shes lucky and should see it as so.

    May 8, 2011 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Ted Linguini

      How is Praising the Flying Spaghetti Monster referencing South Park? My name, Ted Linguini is my Pastafarian name. Pastafarianism is a satirical religion which is worldwide and simply points out how silly so-called religions truly are. How do you not know this? are you so ill-informed? Seems so....I'm guessing you are a Chrisitan...or as some of us refer to you, a Zombie worshiper (because of Easter and all) Please learn about your world.

      May 8, 2011 at 5:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. calif

    hahahaha yes i agree, the comment board is always entertaining, gives me good laughs, keep 'em coming!

    May 8, 2011 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bruce Bardes

    My wife and I lost our house to a tornado - while we were in it. It was the longest 30 seconds in my life. To CNN viewers, go easy on criticizing Leicia; unless you've been through what she has, you won't understand her situation. Much of her pre-tornado life has been stripped away; what wasn't taken away has been scrambled beyond belief. To Leicia, trust me - somehow, you'll find strength to rebuild your life.

    May 8, 2011 at 5:25 am | Report abuse |
    • JebDyer

      Just hold hands, J

      May 8, 2011 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ted Linguini

    I would just like to thank God for his love, mercy and compassion shown through his divine wisdom in killing 400 people and destroying the lives of these sinners. Praise his love...for he is love. He shows his divine plan each day killing sinners in car accidents, fires, domestic abuse and natural disaster. We are all blessed. Amen.

    for the truly weak-minded I will explicitly state that this is sarcasm

    May 8, 2011 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Ted Linguini

      And good luck to all who are affected by this tragedy

      May 8, 2011 at 5:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Fowardblue

      Be happy you have your baby, NOW how can We the people help. I am looking for websites for volunteers amd donoations.

      May 8, 2011 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. beknoca

    I spend every gdam mothers day homeless

    May 8, 2011 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Doug


      May 8, 2011 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
    • robot

      maybe you should get a job

      May 8, 2011 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. sk8104s8tan

    brings back memories of the dirty thirties

    May 8, 2011 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |
  11. carma

    All that needs said is have a happy and blessed mothers day. to know how special the bond between mother and child is. from one mother who lost her child to a blessed mother who loved her child ti put her own life on the line for him nothing can ever break that bond. i put you in my prayers and you are truly blessed happy mothers day!

    May 8, 2011 at 6:29 am | Report abuse |
    • JebDyer

      Yup, I love my mother too. On all days.

      May 8, 2011 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
  12. unowhoitsme

    Leicie, Happy Mother's Day! You and your baby are alive and well, so you have a lot to celebrate. Many mothers from this tregedy were not to lucky.

    May 8, 2011 at 6:37 am | Report abuse |

    Thank god the baby was fine and just be thankful you are alive to spend mothers day with your son

    May 8, 2011 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. eyeneversmile

    Yup God loves us. Why else would he kill innocent people in tornados, car accidents, hurricanes, flash floods, wild fires, war, disease, famine, and many many other things?

    God truly is all about love. Make sure you pray to him tonight, He loves you.

    May 8, 2011 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. Voice of Reason

    I couldn't give a rat's behind about the baby being multiractial; my concern is that this is a teenage girl who had a baby outside of marriage (at least that's what her Facebook page seems to indicate–and shortly before the storm she had posted that she and the baby's father had broken up). So storm or no storm, this is a group of people that are destined for a life of poverty and difficulty.

    May 8, 2011 at 7:00 am | Report abuse |
    • hayden

      Fairchild was sitting at home with the father of her baby ........not husband or boyfriend......looks like young girl........kid is screwed already.......sorry

      May 8, 2011 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
    • FunkyMark

      People like you confirm my belief that our specie, the human specie, is the lowest form of life on this blue planet.

      May 8, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
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