RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Rutherford County Mayor Joe Carr has reached out to Gov. Bill Lee to request a state of emergency declaration after a tornado “wiped out” Readyville early Saturday morning, officials said.
When describing the destruction, Carr said, “It looked like a bomb went off.”
According to Rutherford County officials, the tornado not only ripped the roof off the U.S. Post Office, but it also destroyed numerous homes on Readyville Street, the historic Readyville Mill, Reed’s Produce and Garden Center, and the Tilford Lumber Co. building.
In addition, multiple houses were reportedly damaged on U.S. Highway 70 South (John Bragg Highway).
“Some homes eerily were left untouched,” Carr added.
Chris Clark, director of the Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency, sent a letter to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency requesting the state of the emergency, officials reported.
“The request will make sure rescue and recovery efforts are not hindered,” Clark said.
According to officials, emergency responders searched for residents in the dark and continued the rescue operations after daylight. Even though some residents sustained minor injuries, all of them were tracked down.
The Rutherford County government shared the following status update on Facebook just after 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 1:
- The Rutherford County Highway Department worked with volunteers to help clear roads.
- Middle Tennessee Electric was restoring power to the perimeter and commercial buildings while gas companies serving the area were checking gas delivery.
- The Solid Waste Department director was developing plans to remove debris.
- The American Red Cross opened a shelter at Westside Elementary School at 3714 Murfreesboro Road.
- New Hope Church of Christ at 4296 Murfreesboro Road opened the church for victims and first responders for restroom facilities.
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Since the tornado happened near the Rutherford-Cannon county line, Carr reportedly met with Cannon County Mayor Greg Mitchell to support rescue efforts in both localities.
After the tornado struck around 2 a.m., officials said members of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, Rutherford County Fire and Rescue, Kittrell Volunteer Fire Department, Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services, Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency, and Murfreesboro Fire Rescue responded to help.
“They showed compassion and kindness at a time of great loss,” Carr said. “We don’t know how good our people are until they rise to the occasion. I could not be more proud.”
Meanwhile, the Rutherford County government said volunteers are being coordinated to help clean the debris on Sunday, April 2. A volunteer center will be set up starting at 8 a.m. at New Hope Church of Christ near Readyville.
Volunteers and impacted residents will need to check in and get an armband. They are also asked to bring work gloves and hard-soled shoes.
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This is a developing story. WKRN News 2 will continue to update this article as new information becomes available.