As we approach the fifth anniversary of April 27, 2011, we look back at that day and towards our future with our special video series, "Five Years Later."


April 27, 2011.

5:13 p.m.

In less than six minutes, Tuscaloosa changed forever. 52 lives were lost. 12% of the city was destroyed. 1,257 homes were destroyed and over 4,000 others were damaged. Over 7,000 people became unemployed after losing their businesses or jobs.

One of the businesses destroyed on April 27, 2011 was Contemporary Mitsubishi. I spoke with Contemporary Automotive Owner Torrie Cochran about his memories of that day in the video above.

The dealership was located at the intersection of 15th Street and 1st Avenue, an area devastated by the EF-4 tornado. Cochran and eight employees rode out the storm inside the dealership building. He remembers praying with those employees as they saw the tornado approach.

In about 35 seconds, the dealership was destroyed. No one suffered major injuries, but 175 cars were totaled and the business saw over $3 million in damages.

The dealership set out to rebuild, and they were able to set up a temporary location at the site of the former Longhorn Steakhouse before moving to their new permanent home at 3427 Skyland Boulevard East in Tuscaloosa.

The road to recovery wasn't an easy one for the Contemporary Automotive family, but Cochran says he'll always remember the way our community came together to help one another after the storm.