February 6 , 2008
Beavers visits ‘Ground Zero’ of tornado damage
Sen. Beavers’ district hardest hit by storms
NASHVILLE, TN – State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and State Senator Diane Black (R-Gallatin) visited Trousdale, Macon, and Sumner Counties on Wednesday, the day after the devastating tornados ripped through the area. Of all the people killed by the tornados, over half of the fatalities occurred in those northeast counties of Middle Tennessee.
“The destruction is unbelievable,” stated Beavers. “Hundreds of trees were uprooted, major TVA power lines snapped in half, and the homes that once stood in this community no longer exist. Words cannot truly describe the destruction these counties have suffered,” continued Beavers. “Out of all my years as an elected official, I cannot recall a more serious or devastating situation. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those that lost their lives in the storms. I will do all that I can to support and help these counties and their residents through these hard times.”
Beavers and Black started the day in Macon County as they met with local officials, including Macon County Mayor Shelvy Linville and Lafayette Mayor Bill Wells, and Governor Phil Bredesen at the Lafayette Municipal Airport to tour the damage. The Williams Community, around Akersville Road in Macon County, was the hardest hit area in the state. Twelve fatalities were reported from the county and people are still missing.
Emergency management teams from Wilson, Sumner, Trousdale, Clay, and Putnam Counties flocked to the scene almost as soon as the storms passed. They worked all night
helping to rescue residents and clear the area of debris.
“The storm cut Macon County in two,” said Macon County Emergency Director Keith Scruggs. “I’ve been working 34 years and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
After leaving the devastation in Macon County, Beavers and Black drove through the Green Grove Community in Trousdale County, where Columbia Gulf Transmission operates a 4,200-mile natural gas pipeline across Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The pumping station was completely burned and the houses around it suffered severe wind damage, leading to a suspicion that a tornado ripped through the area. The explosion at the pumping station caused flames as high has 500 feet, making them visible
over 40 miles away in Downtown Nashville.
Lastly, Beavers and Black made their way to Castalian Springs in Sumner County to assess the damage and talk with emergency management officials. Five people were killed in Castalian Springs, including an elderly couple. The Post Office was completely destroyed and Wynnewood, a state historic site, suffered a catastrophic hit.
“First, my prayers go out to those who lost loved ones at the hands of this devastating storm,” stated Black. “This is a situation that we never want to face, but I must commend our emergency management teams for their organization and hard work. After a tornado ripped through Gallatin in April 2006, we learned several lessons about responding to natural disaster areas. Such lessons were effectively employed in Castalian Springs today and I believe that lives were saved because of that. I will do everything in my power to
make sure the residents and responders have enough resources and supplies to continue their recovery efforts,” stated Black. “The breadth of the damage is unreal and really makes one appreciate the shear power of Mother Nature.” Tennessee emergency management officials report that 30 people died in the state overnight; however, several people are still missing from the storm damaged counties. Middle Tennessee suffered a string of tornadoes in April 2006 that ravaged many counties in the west and middle parts
of the state, killing 36 people.