COOKEVILLE, Tenn.- The National Weather service has confirmed an EF 2
tornado, with winds up to a 125 miles per hour, tore through Jackson County
Friday. Along Dodson Branch Highway some of the most unlikely volunteers
pitched in hoping to save horses trapped inside of a barn.
It wasn't until Saturday morning that Willene Ogle could make it to what was
left of her barn.
"I'm just in a daze or something you know," she explained.
The barn was directly in the storm's path. Many volunteers, including
inmates from the Jackson County jail, worked for hours to free more than one
dozen horses trapped inside.
"Piece of tin by piece of tin," volunteer Don Chinoy explained,
"wood by wood, chainsaws and so on until we got the horses out of the
dangerous part of the barn."
In all, five of the horses died, most crushed in the mangled debris.
This community has experienced tornadoes before, but residents say they've
never seen this much destruction. Now begins the difficult process of moving
There was no time to really take it all in because there is so much more to
do. Nearly 24 hours later, even the horses were still dealing with the
lingering effects of the storm.
"It's been very traumatic for them," University of Tennessee
Extension representative Cynthia Zeitz said. "If you can imagine...the
building, the roof coming off, the noise, the debris."
All Willene Ogle could do was watch as, one by one, her horses were loaded
"I just trust God to take care of me," she said.
They are former show horses that have been part of her life for 20 years. At
least for now, they have gone away.
The horses were taken to the Putnam County Fairgrounds where they will be
taken care of until they can be placed in a permanent home.