|3/3/2012 9:00:00 AM
Storm destroys Milton Fire & Rescue station
Courier Staff Writer
A band of high-wind, tornado-producing storms ripped through Trimble and Carroll counties and destroyed a fire station and damaged several buildings and homes along the Ohio River. No deaths were reported, but tornadoes from the same storm system killed five people around Kentucky.
Spokesman Terry Sebastian of Gov. Steve Beshear's office said four people were killed in Menifee County in eastern Kentucky and one in Kenton County near Cincinnati.
In Trimble County, Milton Fire and Rescue Station 2 was demolished and a fire engine was totaled when the storm jumped across Trimble County at about 3:30 p.m. Friday. Milton Fire Chief Jason Long estimated the damage to be at least $300,000. A medical helicopter based at the fire station was not there at the time of the storm.
Ronnie McCane, the Trimble County Emergency Management director, said two people suffered non-life-threatening injuries along Joyce Mill Road, where four mobile homes were destroyed.
On Friday evening, McCane said it was too early to estimate a dollar amount for the countywide damage. However, he said residents who live on King's Ridge Road in Trimble County might be without power for several days.
John Denman, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Louisville, could not confirm if the storm system in Trimble or Carroll counties was a tornado. He said weather service crews will visit the area today and determine the classification of the storm.
In Milton, one firefighter was in the building when the tornado barreled through the fire station. He was not injured. Long, who was in his truck when he saw the storm developing, said much of the damage in Milton was confined to the fire station.
Long said he saw three funnel clouds near the fire station. In the firehouse, he said, the department was storing at least $30,000 in new equipment, which is now either lost or destroyed.
Even more unfortunate, he said, is that the fire station was housing donations for an ALS benefit to held at the department today. The donations, which Long said were likely worth "thousands of dollars," were swept away in the storm or ruined in the rain.
Nearby residents Diane and Bob McKinney set up the benefit and auction to help raise money for ALS research. Bob was diagnosed with the disease in 2009. Diane said the couple moved the items to the firehouse just two hours before the storm hit.
The auction was scheduled to include 65 items, including a barn quilt, UK memorabilia and art pieces. Diane said they will reschedule the event.
Along KY 42 in Carroll County, homes sustained minor to heavy damage. Debris from house siding and insulation lined the trees near Harbor Point Estates. One home in the subdivision received substantial damage to its second floor.
Emma Weed, who lives off the highway, said she heard the siren warnings and sought cover at her neighbor's home. Her garage, which had three cars parked inside - including a 1923 Ford T Bucket - was demolished. The T Bucket, however, was without a scratch.
Because the house sits against a hill, Weed said she never thought she was at risk for tornado damage.
"All the sudden it got real brown out and metal started flying through the air," she said. "I've never heard anything like it in my life. I mean, it sounded like a 10-ton freight train."
Her neighbor, Susan Hedges, lost her carport and garage, which was housing several of her husband's "man-tiques."
After the storm, Hedges stood in her driveway and chatted with her neighbors while waiting for her husband to return home to help assess the damage. Her home sustained minor damage, including missing shingles and a broken door and window.
"As for anything leaking in there, I have not a clue," she said, pointing to her home.
Metal from the carport was tossed into nearby trees, and her prized 1960s Volkswagen Beetle was trapped underneath the rubble from the garage and sustained a broken window.
Hedges pointed out a few of the missing items before announcing: "Well, I kept saying we needed to clean out the garage. I guess now we have to."
Beshear was planning to fly to Morgan, Menifee and Kenton counties to assess damage today with Kentucky Adjutant Gen. Ed Tonini, Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers II of Manchester and Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
15th Lee McDole