Wednesday marks 10 years since a deadly twister touched down in Americus, destroying the Sumter County Regional Hospital.
Registered Nurse Wendy Crimmins thought she was going to die during her shift.
“The noise was just horrendous. It was so loud. It was just a roar, almost like a monster coming over,” Crimmins said.
She says the EF-3 tornado hit as she making her rounds. It was her first night as charge nurse in the labor and delivery department at Sumter Regional Hospital.
“As soon as the wind died down enough, I ran into the rooms to see what patients were still in the rooms,” Crimmins said. “There were patients under mattresses that had flipped over, under the furniture, they were tied to the IV poles. They were anchored into the room to where they could not get out.”
They had 12 patients and three babies in the wing. Daphene Lumpkin was also working that night.
“We’re still thinking about those patients, we had to figure out what to do with these patients,” Lumpkin said. “That’s what we did, we took them to a stairway because we was third floor. It was the top floor.”
By morning, they got all the patients out and transported to other hospitals. Crimmins says reality hit her when she left that morning.
“We knew it was bad, but once we walked out, we saw that,” Crimmins said. “It was gone, completely destroyed, the vehicles were completely destroyed.”
All that remains at the site of the old Sumter Regional Hospital is an empty field and a couple of parking lots, since crews knocked down the remaining parts after the tornado.
Americus now has a new hospital about two miles away from the old one.
It’s called Phoebe Sumter Medical Center.