BOWLING GREEN, Ken. (WKRN) — New statistics after a deadly EF-3 tornado reveal 88 people have died across Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois, and Missouri. Seventy-four of those deaths are in Kentucky alone, where 109 people are still unaccounted for in the state.
Moss Creek Avenue is one of the hardest-hit areas where at least 11 people died and dozens of homes were destroyed.
“I actually drew the plan myself,” said Gentian Emini, who was amid building his own home when the tornado blew through it. “I’m actually like a subcontractor and a builder. I just got into this industry. I purchased the lot in cash and then as I was working with my savings…it took me about 6 years’ worth of savings.”
The 27-year-old husband and father from Albania spent all he had building the house of his family’s dreams. But Saturday, his sweat and tears were torn to the ground. “I had probably another month to move in and the tornado destroyed everything,” said Emini.
To make matters worse, Emini’s neighbors across the street were killed in the EF-3 tornado. While police have not yet confirmed the relationship of the victims, they say at least seven of them were children.
“I just remember all those kids walking down through here, and it’s heartbreaking,” said Emini. “They would play all over the place. We would have never thought in our lifetime that stuff like this could happen.”
The Bowling Green neighborhood is now left to process the grief and heavy loss.
“We are devastated about it,” said Naug Meh, who was home with her husband and 2-year-old son when the storm hit. “Imagine, you are in their shoes. I don’t know how you will be able to survive.”
While dozens of homes were destroyed, there were others located less than a block away from one of the deadliest locations in town that were untouched.
“Just right there… a couple houses down,” said Meh. “We are thankful that we still survived through the storm. Our lights are still off. We don’t know how long it’s going to take to fix… might take up to a month to three months.”
It’s a harsh reminder of how fragile life can be.
“Just the blink of an eye within a 10-minute span, I could not be here anymore,” said Jason Nichols, whose home was not damaged in the storm. “It’s just by chance that it decided to curve and go through Bowling Green.”
Church groups and volunteer groups passed out meals and water, while also helping to clean up debris on Tuesday.