Kentucky Tornadoes: Many Survivors In One Town Have Clothes On Their Backs
About 75% of a city, Dawson Springs in western Kentucky, was wiped out by the tornado, Mayor Chris Smiley said.
“At the moment our spirits are shattered, but we will be back,” said Hopkins County Coroner Dennis Mayfield, who reported 13 dead in Dawson Springs alone.
About a third of the city’s 2,500 residents live below the poverty line and many have no insurance.
Those whose homes are still standing are unlikely to have electricity for a month or so, said Nick Bailey, the county’s emergency management director.
Overall, at least 88 people were killed in the severe storms that swept through the Midwest and southern regions from Friday night to Saturday, including at least 74 in Kentucky, according to Governor Andy Beshear. An estimated 50 tornado reports have been made in eight states.
“When that tornado hit it didn’t just take a roof off, which we’ve seen in the past,” Beshear said. “It blew up the whole house. The people, the animals, the rest, let’s go.”
Of the 74 killed in Kentucky, 12 were children, Beshear said. More than 100 people were still missing as of Tuesday morning, he said.
Beshear said 568 National Guardsmen were helping with post-tornado efforts in the state.
The Red Cross has opened shelters for those who have lost their homes and several state parks have been opened to help families with shelter.
The damage was not limited to life and buildings. Several large transmission towers have been destroyed, and it will take weeks or even months to replace them, Michael Dossett, Kentucky’s director of emergency management, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
There are still 18,500 power outages – not counting Mayfield Electric – that will take weeks and months to rebuild, Dossett said.
The destruction was blind. The long-term impact is difficult to measure.
“For some people, I don’t know if they will ever recover completely, certainly not emotionally or psychologically,” said Senator Whitney Westerfield. “Houses and buildings can be rebuilt in time, but it’s the kind of thing that lasts with the community and with the family for a long time,” he told CNN on Monday.
8 dead at Kentucky candle factory, officials say
The factory “was operating 24/7” in part to meet the demand for Christmas candles, US Representative James Comer, who represents the region, told CNN.
A tornado razed the building Friday night, trapping many workers under several meters of debris, but authorities are now confident that no one is left in the rubble.
Factory worker Jim Douglas was in so much pain as he lay crushed under what he believed to be 15 feet of debris that he “prayed that God would take me.” Then rescuers joined him.
“They’re heroes. And not because they saved me, it’s because they saved a lot of people,” Douglas told CNN from his hospital bed.
Douglas is recovering from nerve damage and slowly regaining the use of his arms and legs. The worker described how an interior wall fell on him, hitting him on the head and knocking him to the ground.
“It was so quick. It was like different layers were falling off and I could feel my body would like more compact,” he said. “I was definitely crushed.”
Residents of Mayfield rushed to the factory as word of the destruction spread, including Navy veteran Adam Slack. First, he helped people remove debris from the roads so paramedics and firefighters could better access the site, he said.
Eventually, Slack helped a site survivor.
“Poor woman, she didn’t want to let go of my hand. I asked her several times if she was okay physically. She said, ‘Yeah… I just want my dad,'” Slack told “New Day.” CNN Tuesday. .
“I took her back to my vehicle, gave her shelter, blankets, kept her warm … She kept telling me to go back and help someone else ., ‘”, recalls Slack.
Slack loaned her a cell phone and she called her dad, who came to pick her up, Slack said.
The factory site was “horrible”, he said.
“If I talk about it for a little too long, it will bring tears to your eyes.… The wind was still blowing. Power lines, there were some gas leaks. People everywhere. It looked like an ant mound when you walked away. Knock it down. Everyone’s trying to help out, trying to get in and get people out safely, ”Slack said.
About 130 miles east of Mayfield, in Bowling Green, Ky., Officials said they had investigated 136 reports of missing people from the tornadoes and as of Monday 13 people were still missing, the chief said. Michael Delaney Police Department. The death toll in Warren County, where Bowling Green is located, is 15, according to the coroner’s office.
Six dead in Amazon warehouse in Illinois
The six victims were between 26 and 62 years old, the Edwardsville Police Department said.
Forty-five people were able to escape the building, and one person was airlifted to a regional hospital for treatment, Edwardsville Fire Chief James Whiteford said on Saturday evening.
Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO Dave Clark said company staff were saddened by the loss of life at the facility and beyond.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones and all those affected by the storm across the United States. We continue to provide support to our employees and partners in the region and in affected communities. By the We would also like to thank all first responders for their continued efforts on the scene, ”Clark said in a tweet.
“OSHA has had compliance officers at the complex since Saturday, December 11 to provide assistance,” US Department of Labor spokesperson Scott Allen said on Monday.
OSHA, which investigates all workplace fatalities and disasters, “has six months to complete its investigation, issue citations and propose financial penalties for violations of occupational safety and / or health rules. Allen added.
Amazon is supporting OSHA’s efforts, an Amazon spokesperson said in an email on Monday.
Destruction in Arkansas
In Arkansas, the storm hit a Dollar general store in Leachville and killed deputy manager June Pennington, Mississippi County spokesman Tom Henry said.
In nearby Monette, at least one person has been killed in a tornado-damaged nursing home, Mayor Bob Blankenship said.
Governor Asa Hutchinson said it was a “miracle” that only one person died at the nursing home.
“As I walked into this facility, it was as if the sky had sucked in the roof and all of its contents,” he said.
“And it’s just a miracle with 67 residents that we only lost one there. And that’s because of the heroic efforts of the staff and also the fact that we had a 20 minute warning.”
CNN’s Jennifer Henderson, Dugald McConnell, Ashley Killough, Nick Valencia, Brynn Gingras, Sarah Boxer, Claudia Dominguez and Andy Rose contributed to this report.