At Least 28 Dead, Hundreds Injured In Violent Weather - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

At Least 28 Dead, Hundreds Injured In Violent Weather

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - According to TEMA, a strong line of super-cell thunderstorms struck Middle Tennessee on Feb. 5, 2008.

The cells developed tornadoes in several locations causing severe damage to multiple locations in seven counties from Shelby to Macon.

The Tennessee Department of Health reported 28 fatalities and over 149 injuries and one person missing.

Here are the breakdown of counties and their fatalities and injuries.


  • 3 fatality and 5 injured (tornado caused wall of building to collapse).
  • THP radio tower with THP and TEMA antennas fell in Arlington.
  • Wall collapse during tornado on Sears Building in Hickory Ridge Mall (Chantex Building) in Rockford Subdivision, Memphis.
  • 120,000 pounds of Anhydrous Ammonia released into the atmosphere at Hardy Bottling Company, 5151 East Rains, Memphis (no impact on public).
  • Memphis Airport closed Runway 927 and Taxiways 2A and 2B; Gate B39 damaged.


  • 1 fatality in Somerville (Fayette County): truck overturned in tornado.
  • Up to 25 tractor trailer trucks overturned (revised) on I-40 between Mile Markers 60 and 70 between Memphis and Brownsville.


  • 3 fatalities (tornado), 3 injured


  • 1 injured (wind)


  • 2 fatalities in Denmark (tornado).
  • Union University had 16 students trapped in a dormitory, 3 critical injuries.
  • Jackson Oaks Retirement Center initially reported 50 persons trapped, but American Red Cross arrived and moved the residents to a shelter.


  • 5 fatalities, 15 injuries (tornado)


  • 12 fatalities, 65 injuries (tornado)


  • Pipeline fire (now burned out), Columbia Gulf Transmission Company, 5422 Green Grove Road, Hartsville, TN
  • 2 fatalities (tornado), 1 missing.

(AP) NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Authorities went door-to-door trying to find additional victims of tornadoes that killed at least 28 people, ripped the roof off a shopping mall and blew apart warehouses as they tore across four states.

The dead included at least 13 people in Tennessee, 11 in Arkansas, and a mother and father who died in Kentucky with their adult daughter. Those killed in Arkansas included another set of parents, who died with their 11-year-old in Atkins, about 60 miles northwest of Little Rock.

The family died from trauma when the storm their home "took a direct hit" from the storm, Pope County Coroner Leonard Krout said.

"Neighbors and friends who were there said, 'There used to be a home there,'" Krout said.

The twisters, which also slammed Mississippi, were part of a line of storms that raged across the nation's midsection at the end of the Super Tuesday primaries in several states. As the extent of the damage quickly became clear, candidates including Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee paused in their victory speeches to remember the victims.

Northeast of Nashville, Tenn., a spectacular fire erupted at a natural gas pumping station northeast of Nashville that authorities said could have been damaged by the storms. An undetermined number of people were reported dead.

Eight students were trapped in a battered dormitory at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., until they were finally freed.

Well after nightfall Tuesday, would-be rescuers went through shattered homes in Atkins, a town of 3,000 near the Arkansas River. Around them, power lines snaked along streets and a deep-orange pickup truck rested on its side. A navy blue Mustang with a demolished front end was marked with spray paint to show it had been searched.

Outside one damaged home, horses whinnied in the darkness, looking up only when a flashlight reached their eyes. A ranch home stood unscathed across the street from a concrete slab that had supported the house where the family of three died.

Gov. Mike Beebe planned to tour Atkins on Wednesday.

In Memphis, high winds collapsed the roof of a Sears store at a mall. Debris that included bricks and air conditioning units was scattered on the parking lot, where about two dozen vehicles were damaged.

A few people north of the mall took shelter under a bridge and were washed away, but they were pulled out of the Wolf River with only scrapes, said Steve Cole of the Memphis Police Department.

In Mississippi, Desoto County Sheriff's Department Cmdr. Steve Atkinson said a twister shredded warehouses in an industrial park in the city of Southaven, just south of Memphis.

"It ripped the warehouses apart. The best way to describe it is it looks like a bomb went off," Atkinson said.

The power was knocked out briefly at a Little Rock convention hall that hosted a watch party for Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor seeking the GOP nomination for president.

"While we hope tonight is a time for us to celebrate election results, we are reminded that nothing is as important as the lives of these fellow Arkansans, and our hearts go out to their families," Huckabee said.

At the W.J. Matthews Civic Center in Atkins, a shelter was empty except for American Red Cross volunteers and a single touch-screen voting machine. The civic center had hosted an election precinct earlier Tuesday. Traffic was snarled on nearby Interstate 40, with tractor-trailers on their sides.

Officials do not know what started a fire at the Columbia Gulf Natural Gas pumping station near Green Grove, about 40 miles from Nashville. The blaze could be seen in the night sky for miles around, with flames shooting "400, 500 feet in the air," said Tennessee Emergency Management spokesman Donnie Smith.

The couple killed with their adult daughter were in their mobile home near Greenville in western Kentucky when a tornado went through their trailer park.

On Jan. 8, tornadoes were reported in Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. Two died in the Missouri storms.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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