Triumph and tears in Kentucky rubble after twister kills 74
AMONSTER tornado ripped a swath of devastation for 223 miles through Kentucky killing at least 74 people, including a two-month-old baby, and leaving mountains of mangled metal and wood that were once homes, cars and businesses.
Thousands of houses were destroyed leaving families without shelter from the onrushing winter cold.
Residents gathered broken pieces of wood and built fires to keep warm in the debris of what had been their homes. A town’s water tower was destroyed leaving 10,000 homes without drinking water.
Behind the devastation were stories of terror, heroism, stupidity and heartbreak.
After alarm sirens blared at Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory, at least 15 workers begged supervisors to be allowed to run to their homes for safety.
“If you leave, you’re more than likely to be fired,” 21-year-old McKayla Emery says she heard bosses threaten four workers. The swirling terror killed eight at the factory alone.
But lucky survivors were Graves County jail inmates working at the factory and being watched by corrections
officer Robert Daniel.
When the tornado alarms blew, the father of seven quickly led the prisoners to a door marked “safety area” and then left to help others.
“The tornado hit. They turned around and he was gone,” says chief deputy Pete Jackson.
Later, Whitney Brown,
32, was in a bedroom at her brother Jordan Baize’s wrecked home, “packing anything I could salvage and I heard the most beautiful sound.”
She found Jordan, 34, sitting at the grand piano in the shell of what had been his house.
Surrounded by debris, the walls and roof gone, he was playing the hymn There’s Something About That Name.
“He used his gift to glorify his God the best way he knew how,” Whitney says.