Thursday, December 01, 2022

Without thousands of heat, after tornadoes, the water would kill dozens of people

MAYFIELD, Ky. (AP) – Residents of the tornado-devastated city of Kentucky could be left without heat, water and electricity for “long” periods in cold temperatures, the mayor said Monday as officials struggled to restore services after the gang. In five states, twisters flattened neighborhoods and killed dozens of people.

Officials are still counting the devastation from Friday’s storms, but they believe the death toll will be less than initially feared, as more people have fled the candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, than first thought.

“It’s a hard morning … but it’s all good, we’re still going to be fine,” Mayfield Mayor Kathy Stewart O’Neill told CBS Mornings.

But survivors faced high rates in the 50s and were below freezing on Monday without any utilities.

“We have lost the water tower, so we don’t have water within the city limits. After everything fell down, all the electricity was cut off due to security, ”O’Nan told NBC’s Today. “Natural gas has been cut off due to heavy leaks,” he said. That means we don’t have the resources. “

“It will take a long time to restore resources here,” he added.

Tens of thousands of people across the state were left without electricity. National Guard personnel went door-to-door, inspecting people and helping remove debris. Cadaver dogs searched for victims.

SEE MORE: Kentucky communities are surprised by the increasing number of tornado victims

Kentucky suffered the most in a set of revolutions in several states because they occurred at a time of year when cold weather typically limited tornadoes. They killed at least eight people at the state’s Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory, and another 12 people were killed in and around Bowling Green. At least 14 more people were killed in Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri.

Officials are still trying to determine the total number of victims, and storms have made house-to-house searches impossible in some areas. “There’s no door,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Besher said.

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“We have more than 1,000 homes going to be destroyed,” he said.

Beshear said Sunday morning the death toll in the state could exceed 100.

Initially, about 70 people were reported dead at the candle factory, but the company confirmed on Sunday that eight people had been killed and eight were missing, with more than 90 more found.

“Most of the workers gathered in the tornado shelter and when the storm was over, they left the plant and went home,” said company spokesman Bob Ferguson. “It was difficult to reach them at first because the power was off and there was no landline. We hope to find more homes for those eight unknowns. “

In Mayfield, west of Kentucky, which has a population of about 10,000, the remains of destroyed buildings and crushed trees covered the ground. The streets are lined with twisted metal plates, broken power lines, and wrecked cars. The windows of the standing buildings were blown off, and the roofs were torn.

Jeremy Creason, chief of firefighting at CBS Mornings, said firefighters in the city were forced to tear down the doors of the fire station to evacuate vehicles.

“The courage and dedication they have shown is indescribable,” he said of his staff. “We had to try to get through all the rubble on our streets. We had three and four flat tires with ambulances cracked.

Onan said the historic churches in the city center were destroyed – a week after he and others visited them on a “coming march” before Christmas.

“We didn’t know we did it last time,” he told Today. “But we are so grateful to have such an opportunity that will stay in our hearts forever – we think so every Christmas.”

As night shift workers at the candle factory were in a hurry for the holiday, word spread that they were looking for shelter.

For Autumn Kirks, this meant throwing away wax and scented buckets to create a safe place. She looked away from her boyfriend Lannis Ward, who was about 10 feet away at the time.

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Suddenly he saw the sky and lightning where the wall was, and Ward disappeared.

“I remember taking my eyes off him for a second, then he disappeared,” Kirks said.

In the afternoon, he received the terrible news – Ward had died in the storm.

“It couldn’t be described,” Pastor Joel Coli said of the disaster scene. “It was almost like you were in a dark zone. You could smell the candles and hear people screaming for help. The candles smell and all the sirens are not what I expected to experience at the same time.”

There have been four twisters in Kentucky, one of which has an extraordinary distance of 200 miles (322 kilometers), officials say.

In addition to the deaths in Kentucky, tornadoes also claimed the lives of at least six people in Illinois, where the Amazon distribution center in Edwardsville was hit; Four in Tennessee; In Arkansas, two nursing homes were destroyed and the governor said workers protected the population with their bodies; and two in Missouri.

Pope Francis has expressed concern about the “devastating effects” of tornadoes. In a telegram sent by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Monday, the pope prayed for the victims “as a consolation to those grieving for their loss and strength to all those affected by this great tragedy.”

On Sunday, two churches in Mayfield gathered to pray for those lost in the shadows of the assembled church temples.

“Our small town will never be the same, but we are resilient,” Laura McClendon said. “We’re going there, but it will take a long time.”

Associated Press writers Christine Hall and Claire Galofaro at Mayfield; Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama; Seth Borenstein, Zeke Miller, and Dino Hazell in Washington; and Travis Loller of Nashville, Tennessee, contributed to this report.

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