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Viola area suffers most devastation
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At least two Viola Road residents are lucky to be alive after their trailer was flipped upside down and crushed during storms Wednesday morning.
“I looked out the window and saw my son climbing out from under the rubble,” said Susan Ferrell, who lives next door. “He was able to get his wife out. It’s a miracle they weren’t killed.”
The couple, Michael and Kachina Ferrell, lived in a single-wide trailer on her property. While her double-wide trailer was left untouched, not much remains of the other dwelling.
“They said tornados were possible during the storm,” said Susan. “I guess they were right. I’m so thankful they both got out alive.”
Hundreds of people across the South weren’t so fortunate as the death toll has climbed to at least 269 people in six states, including at least 180 in Alabama. In Tennessee, at least 33 people died as a result of the storm.
A meteorologist with the National Weather Service says the deaths are the most since a tornado outbreak killed 315 people in 1974.
In Warren County, where the area was hit with 4.09 inches of rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Ferrells were taken to River Park Hospital. They are believed to be the only people hospitalized because of the storm.
Besides bruises, Michael suffered a burn to his foot and Kachina suffered a sprained ankle. The burn was suspected to be caused by stepping on a disconnected, but live, electrical wire outside the trailer, says Susan.
The trailer, as well as most of the belongings inside the home, were destroyed.
“I just don’t know what they are going to do,” said Susan. “I think the American Red Cross is going to put them up in a hotel for a couple of days. I don’t know how we are going to replace the trailer and all their belongings.”
The section of Viola Road from Mt. Zion Road to Fire Tower Road, was sectioned off and traffic detoured for several hours Wednesday as crews with Caney Fork Electric worked to straighten slanted electrical poles, replace broken ones, and clear the road of numerous trees and debris.
Nurseryman Joey Haston has one of the most bizarre stories from the storm. He had two 15-foot-tall grain storage bins side by side on one of his Viola farms. The storm picked up one of the bins and carried it an estimated 300 yards, even crossing a fence. The fence was not damaged.
“There was a 2-pound bucket sitting just a few feet away that wasn’t even bothered,” said Haston. “Yet this huge grain bin was carried all the way across the field and the other grain bin looks like it wasn’t even touched. I don’t understand it.”
Haston suffered other property damage, including a farm house that had its windows blown out and several trees that were snapped.
As for damage done to the Ferrell trailer, Susan says she did not hear it being tossed.
“All my children and I heard was what sounded like a strong storm moving through. We couldn’t hear anything else because it was so loud,” she said.
Donations to help the couple can be sent to P.O. Box 354, Morrison, Tenn., 37357.