Thursday, May 25, 2000

Western Ky. town recovering from tornado


Officials weigh damage, offer aid

By Mike Chambers
The Associated Press

        LEITCHFIELD, Ky. — Donna Odom and her family stood amid debris in their front yard, as the sun shone through exposed rafters and onto the backs of state officials walking through her living room touring tornado damage Wednesday.

        Ms. Odom had huddled inside the home Tuesday, praying as the tornado ripped her home's roof away. On Wednesday, she wondered whether her homeowners insurance would cover all the damage.

        “What I bought the home for 10 years ago, you can't build a home for that now,” said Ms. Odom, who had not yet spoken with an insurance adjuster.

        The line of storms that moved through western Kentucky damaged homes in 12 counties, but Leitchfield was hardest hit, officials with the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management said.

        The tornado that struck about 2 p.m. caused more than a dozen injuries, destroyed 16 homes in Leitchfield and severely damaged another 37 homes, said Charlie Frazee with the emergency management agency. Dozens of other homes sustained minor damage, he said Wednesday.

        Forty-one National Guard troops were to be posted overnight in the town to prevent looting.

        Lt. Gov. Steve Henry, who toured the damage in Leitchfield as part of an initial assessment for state and federal relief, said officials with eight state agencies were mobilized to offer assistance to residents and businesses.

        Mr. Henry said many homeowners he talked to were covered by insurance. But he expressed concern for the 2,000 employees who were affected by the tornado that damaged eight businesses at the Leitchfield Industrial Park.

        “My number one concern is making sure that a year from now every one of those businesses are still here,” Mr. Henry said.

        The industrial park employs 3,500 people. Grayson County Judge-Executive Gary Logsdon said the damage impacted about one-third of the town's workforce.

        “Two thousand jobs plays a big part in a small community,” Mr. Logsdon said. “We rely on our industries.”

        State officials with the depart<< ments of unemployment and insurance, the Cabinet for Local Government and the Natural Resources Cabinet were in Grayson County on Wednesday to offer assistance to residents and local government officials.

        State officials also were working to contain a spill after a 1,000-gallon tank holding diesel fuel was thrown into a nearby creek, Mr. Henry said.

        The American Red Cross converted the Grayson County Middle School into a shelter for residents and also was offering assistance to those in need of lodging or food and clothing.

        George Betz, a Red Cross spokesman, said only eight people sought shelter the night of the storm and all later left to stay with family.

        << Mr. Betz said the Red Cross is also providing counseling for people traumatized by the storms.

        “When people go through something like that it kind of rattles you up emotionally,” Mr. Betz said.

        Bobby and Julie Coy got it from both from the tornado and torrential rains that followed. Their home lost its roof to the tornado, and rains caused the ceiling inside to cave in. Fortunately they were able to move many of their belongings into another room before the living room ceiling fell in.

        They weren't home when the tornado struck, and the site was barely recognizable when they returned.

        “At first we didn't even think it was ours,” Julie Coy said.

       



The Banks bill: $177 million
Nursing profession in critical condition
Weeklong party trashes home
Charges dropped in priest's stabbing
Cop: Chief used racial slur
New saint has local kin
PULFER: No holds barred at Mercantile Library
Butler ozone highest
Church filling kids' needs
Hill holds fossil treasures
Troopers turn to public for help on holiday weekend
SAMPLES: Rules hurt school's athletes hed
Battle lines drawn in mayor race
KNIPPENBERG: Subway dieter pounds pavement in Covington
BUG LVRS GO 4 vanity plates
Major Chihuly work coming to art museum
Art museum's 2000-01 schedule
Channel 12 sweeps news ratings
Dusseldorf chorus provides pleasing May Festival treat
GET TO IT
Pig Parade: A Swine of Signs
Send us your cyber-speak
Abortion foes, feds settle case
AROUND THE COMMONWEALTH
City extends curfew contract
Commission clears Taft of ethics complaint about football tickets
Council asks for probe of check
Council not inclined to take on Dr. Laura
County takes up stadium management
Dinner set to collect for school
Ex-police chief sues over firing by mayor
Gunman gets eight years for killing
Helping agency moves into bigger quarters
Lebanon workers may get pay boost
Monroe strip club to fight law
New councilman named in Golf Manor
New Miami principal hails from Norwood
New road part of schools' land use
Queen City's moments to shine reflected in book
School board going over details of proposed budget
Semi driver killed in crash on I-75
Sewage planners criticized
Speaker stresses need to break cycle of violence
Tristate Digest
Truancy officer appointed to help boost attendance
Volunteers aid peace bell
- Western Ky. town recovering from tornado
Westwood has raised $70,000
Woodlawn's ways scrutinized