Dozens feared dead as tornadoes, storms strike US states

Dozens feared dead as tornadoes, storms strike US states




at the minimum two people were killed Friday night when a reported tornado ripped by an Arkansas nursing home, and emergency crews in southern Illinois were also responding to reports of injuries at an Amazon warehouse after a roof collapsed amid storms there.

Midwest_Tornadoes_28636 The Amazon dispensing center is slightly collapsed after being hit by a tornado on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021 in Edwardsville, Ill.

Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP

Midwest_Tornadoes_17061 First responders work outside an Amazon fulfillment center after it was heavily damaged when a strong thunderstorm moved by the area Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Edwardsville, Ill.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Midwest_Tornadoes_90523 First responders work outside an Amazon fulfillment center after it was heavily damaged when a strong thunderstorm moved by the area Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Edwardsville, Ill.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Midwest_Tornadoes_64111 Emergency vehicles ring the outside of an Amazon fulfillment center after it was heavily damaged when a strong thunderstorm moved by the area Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Edwardsville, Ill.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

APTOPIX_Midwest_Tornadoes_01436 An Amazon dispensing center is heavily damaged after a strong thunderstorm moved by the area Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Edwardsville, Ill. Tornadoes and harsh weather were blamed for several deaths and injuries across parts of the Midwest and the South as a storm system caused meaningful damage at a candle factory in Kentucky, an Amazon facility in Illinois, a nursing home in Arkansas, and numerous homes and buildings.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Midwest-Tornadoes_02104 The Amazon dispensing center is slightly collapsed after being hit by heavy winds on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021 in Edwardsville, IIl.

Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP

Midwest-Tornadoes_10095 The Amazon dispensing center is slightly collapsed after being hit by heavy winds on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021 in Edwardsville, IIl.

Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP

Midwest-Tornadoes_16942 The Amazon dispensing center is slightly collapsed after being hit by heavy winds on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021 in Edwardsville, IIl.

Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP

Midwest_Tornadoes_69306 Emergency vehicles stage outside an Amazon fulfillment center after it was heavily damaged when a strong thunderstorm moved by the area Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Edwardsville, Ill.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Midwest_Tornadoes_63155 Emergency vehicles stage outside an Amazon fulfillment center after it was heavily damaged when a strong thunderstorm moved by the area Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Edwardsville, Ill.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Midwest_Tornadoes_99124 Emergency vehicles stage outside an Amazon fulfillment center after it was heavily damaged when a strong thunderstorm moved by the area Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Edwardsville, Ill.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Midwest_Tornadoes_47963 Emergency vehicles stage outside an Amazon fulfillment center after it was heavily damaged when a strong thunderstorm moved by the area Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Edwardsville, Ill.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Tornadoes and harsh weather caused extreme damage across multiple states late Friday, killing at the minimum six people overnight as a storm system tore by a candle factory in Kentucky, an Amazon facility in Illinois and a nursing home in Arkansas. The Kentucky governor said he feared dozens more could be dead.

Gov. Andy Beshear said about 110 people were in the factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, when the tornado hit.

“We believe our death toll from this event will go beyond 50 Kentuckians and probably end up 70 to 100,” he said at a news conference Saturday. “It’s very hard, really tough, and we’re praying for each and every one of those families.”

Kyana Parsons-Perez, a factory employee, was retained under five feet (about 1.5 meters) of debris for at the minimum two hours until rescuers managed to free her.

In an interview with TODAY, she said it was the “absolutely the most terrifying” event she had ever experienced. “I did not think I was going to make it at all.”

Just before the tornado hit, the building’s lights flickered. She felt a gust of wind, her ears started “popping” and then, “expansion. Everything came down on us.” People started screaming, and she heard Hispanic workers praying in Spanish.

Among those who helped rescue the retained workers were inmates from the nearby Graves County Jail, she said.

“They could have used that moment to try to run away or anything, but they did not. They were there, helping us,” she said.

at the minimum one person died at an Amazon facility in Edwardsville, Illinois, Police Chief Mike Fillback told reporters Saturday morning. The roof of the building was ripped off and a wall about the length of a football field collapsed.

Two people at the facility were taken by helicopter to hospitals in St. Louis, Fillback said. The chief said he did not know how serious their injuries were. Edwardsville is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of St. Louis.

It wasn’t closest clear whether the damage was caused by straight-line storms or a tornado, but the National Weather Service office near St. Louis reported “radar-confirmed tornadoes” in the Edwardsville area around the time of the collapse.

About 30 people who were in the building were taken by bus to the police stop in nearby Pontoon Beach for evaluation.

Early Saturday, rescue crews were nevertheless sorting by the rubble. Fillback said the time of action could take several more hours. Cranes and backhoes were brought in to help move debris.

The Belleville News-Democrat reported that the Amazon fulfillment center in Edwardsville opened with two warehouses in 2016, with 1.5 million square feet (about 139,000 square meters) of space. The warehouses are used to store items until they are shipped to mail-order customers.

“The safety and well-being of our employees and partners is our top priority right now,” Amazon spokesperson Richard Rocha said in a written statement Friday night. “We’re assessing the situation and will proportion additional information when it’s obtainable.”

Workers at a National Weather Service office had to take shelter as a tornado passed near their office in Weldon Spring, Missouri, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of St. Louis. One person died and two others were injured in building collapses near the towns of Defiance and New Melle, both just a few miles from the weather service office.

A tornado hit the Monette Manor nursing home in Arkansas on Friday night, killing one person and trapping 20 people inside as the building collapsed, Craighead County estimate Marvin Day told The Associated Press.

Five people had serious injuries, and a few others had minor ones, he said. The nursing home has 86 beds.

Three storm-related deaths were confirmed in Tennessee, said Dean Flener, spokesman for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. Two of the deaths occurred in Lake County, and the third was in Obion County — both in the northwestern corner of the state.

In Kentucky, several buildings collapsed during the harsh weather that hit Mayfield, said Sarah Burgess, a trooper with the Kentucky State Police.

“The complete building is essentially leveled,” she said.

Farther east in Bowling Green, Western Kentucky University said on Twitter that emergency crews were assessing meaningful storm damage and that no injuries were closest reported. However, the school called off commencement ceremonies that were planned for Saturday because the campus was without strength.

“It’s obvious we had major wind damage,” said Ronnie Ward, a Bowling Green police spokesman, in a telephone interview.

Rescue efforts in Bowling Green and in other places were hampered by debris strewn across roads. Ward said numerous apartment complexes in Bowling Green had major structural damage, and some factories had collapsed during the storms.

“Right now we’re focusing on the citizens, trying to get to everybody that needs us,” Ward said.

___

Jablon reported from Los Angeles; Salter reported from O’Fallon, Missouri. Associated Press journalists Bruce Schreiner in Frankfort, Kentucky, John Raby in Charleston, West Virginia, and Jeff McMurray in Chicago contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Click: See details




leave your comment

Search

Top