HERMITAGE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Clean up was well underway in the Hermitage community after a tornado ripped through Old Hickory Boulevard and neighboring homes and business.
Kroger employee Curtis Hayes suffered damage to his truck, which was parked in the parking lot. Hayes said he and other employees rode out the storm in a cooler.
“Any place like the cooler, anything in the far back has a strong foundation, so that’s what we usually do,” Hayes said.
Not a single vehicle was spared. Bumpers were ripped off, landing inside vehicles with blown-out windows.
“It just only happened a few seconds. At first, everything was normal. Then after the tornado hit, we came back and there was nothing but debris, glass, the alarm was on… Everything was just completely different,” Hayes said.
Hayes said it could be weeks before employees may return to work. He has been deployed to another Kroger location.
A Panera bread restaurant, bank, and PETCO store all suffered major damage. Steel light poles were snapped at the base. However, other businesses in the same strip mall, such as the Outback Steakhouse restaurant, suffered only minor damage or were spared.
Multiple power crews worked hard to get the lights back on in Hermitage. The crews were part of what is estimated to be a very long recovery process.