PUTNAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — As a reserve deputy with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Andrew Fahrner jumped in action when an EF-4 tornado tore through his Cookeville neighborhood on March 3.

“The closer we got to the end of the road here, the worse it got,” Fahrner described. “We basically started hearing screams. It was chaos. It was bombs. It was like bombs went off.”

Fahrner has done three tours in Iraq and said the scene was far worse than what he experienced overseas.

“We were terrified, but these are my people,” Fahrner said. “This is my neighborhood. They wouldn’t leave me and I am not leaving them.”

With help from his neighbors, Fahrner pulled his own mother and father-in-law from their house after it collapsed on them. The group also triaged the victims of the tornado until EMS crews were able to get to the scene.

19 people were killed in Putnam County after that tornado tore through the city of Cookeville.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of Super Tuesday tornado rebuilding and recovery.

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