LINCOLN COUNTY, Tenn. (WHNT) – Sheriff Murray Blackwelder said the devastation is widespread in Lincoln County, and urged people to stay out of the tornado-hit areas for the time being.
He spoke Tuesday afternoon and released more specific information about the storms’ impact.
Two people died in the Flintville area on Monday evening when a large tornado hit. The Sheriff identified them as John Prince, age 60, and his wife, Karen Prince, 44. They lived in a mobile home that was blown from its foundation, Sheriff Blackwelder said.
Sheriff Blackwelder said he doesn’t believe there are any more people unaccounted for, but teams are still in a “search and rescue” mode to be sure.
Approximately 25 homes were destroyed in the storm system, which moved slowly through Lincoln County. South Lincoln School on Smith Mill Road also took a severe hit. Sheriff Blackwelder described it as “uninhabitable.”
Director of Schools Wanda Shelton said only a small portion of the school was left undamaged, with the cafeteria and many classrooms destroyed. The school was being used as a storm shelter during the first round of storms that moved through earlier Monday evening. No one was there at the time of the tornado, but there were widespread power outages due to a damaged transmission tower.
Jeremy Heidt, spokesman for Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, says state officials sent aid on Tuesday, including about 30 National Guardsmen, to help local officials as they search for more possible victims and try to clear roads blocked by debris.
Local response agencies, including many volunteers, set up a command post Tuesday at the Howell Hill Community Center on Old Lincoln Road.
Wednesday, volunteers are asked to go to Park City Baptist Church on Highway 231. Sheriff Blackwelder said volunteers must sign in and get an armband before they will be allowed into the devastated areas.
“We are inundated with traffic. We can’t get our emergency teams in,” Sheriff Blackwelder said. “We know you want to help. We don’t want to stop that. But we want to finish this search and recovery process first, so we can get to the next step.”
Curfew Begins Wednesday Evening
A curfew will be in place starting Wednesday evening. All non-residents must be out of the tornado-hit areas by 6 p.m.
Tennessee State Troopers Tuesday morning were still diverting through traffic and media members away from South Lincoln School and the area of Old Lincoln Road near the Howell Hill command post. Lincoln County Schools remain closed Tuesday.
On Price Lane, just west of the Crystal Springs Community, there were reports that every home was destroyed along with accounts of people trapped and debris causing issues for first responding in reaching those in trouble.
Several shelters have opened up in the area for people who need a place to go:
- Lincoln County Courthouse
- Mimosa Community Center
- Belleville Community Center
- Flintville First Baptist Church
- Flintville School
- Park City Church of Christ
- State Line Church of Christ
- Boonsville Community Center
- Fayetteville Municipal Center
- Petersburg Town Hall
- Dell Rose Fire Station