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Possible tornado rips roof parts off Bearcat Express convenience store

Posted at 11:10 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 23:10:14-05

BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (WTXL) — The good news was that no one at Bearcat Express was hurt during Wednesday's possible tornado, but owners will head into the new year in need of a new roof.

While Brittany McCoy ordered an evening meal, she and others could hear Bearcat Express store owners hammering away at what was left of the roof following the afternoon's storm.

"Everybody's explaining how it ripped the roof off this place and I can't believe it did such damage," said McCoy.

Owner Chirag "Chris" Patel said he and his uncle took shelter when they heard strong winds.

"Me and my uncle we ran to the cooler, we got like beer cave and stuff, so we ran to the juice cooler, and after five minutes, when we came out, and I checked my roof, it almost tore off," Patel explained.

They spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening hours working to hammer down tarps to protect the store's interior until they're able to secure more permanent repair.

"I called my friend, and I called my insurance company, they say they're coming tomorrow, but I've got one handyman, they say they'll try to help me out," Patel said.

His store, just one of the places in Bainbridge where the storm left a mark. Photos from Bainbridge Public Safety show an uprooted tree near Broad and Evans streets, a damaged fence on Independent Street and a damaged carport on Calhoun Street, not far at all from where Patel and his crew work to protect their belongings.

"It's a little bit scary, you know, cause it was out of the ordinary, you know, but thank God we were in place, you know, and thank God nothing happened to the people that were here," said McCoy.

Patel was able to keep the store open despite the damage and says he appreciates the care and concern already coming from the community.