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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Storm cleanup begins

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

CARUTHERSVILLE -- Officers from the Sikeston Department of Public Safety have returned from Caruthersville where a state of emergency was declared after 200 homes were destroyed by a tornado during a storm which claimed the lives of three Missouri residents including a Circle City man.

"We were part of their initial help and setup with the search and rescue operations," said Tom Bridger, emergency management coordinator for Sikeston. "We were happy to be a part of it, to assist where we could."

Lawrence Dorroh, city attorney and information officer for Caruthersville, said search and rescue operations went well and were completed Monday evening.

"So far there have been no additional serious injuries or fatalities in the city," Dorroh said. "There was one critical injury early on."

The injured person was transported from the Pemiscot County Memorial Hospital in Hayti to St. Francis Hospital in Cape Girardeau by the Air Evac Lifeteam based just north of Miner.

Authorities didn't have any information on the extent of the injuries or how they occurred.

Gov. Matt Blunt has issued several executive orders since Monday morning. The first declared a state of emergency, activating the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan and directing state agencies to provide support in affected areas as need.

The second executive order authorizes the activation of the Missouri National Guard to provide assistance.

"The city did make request for National Guard resources for security purposes and cleanup, but primarily for security," Dorroh said.

Power for least damaged areas of the city was back up by Monday evening, according to Dorroh. The places that were most affected by the storm "are several days out from having power restored," he said.

The city was also initially without water following the storm.

"The water is being restored but the city is under a boil water order and a water conservation order," Dorroh said. "A water tower was destroyed in the storm and the city lost its entire water reserve."

According to the city's damage assessment, 141 single-family homes were destroyed, 105 suffered major damage, 87 had minor damage and five were affected.

Among the mobile homes in Caruthersville, 29 were destroyed, 34 sustained major damage and 11 were listed as having minor damage.

Also listed on the damage assessment were 30 destroyed duplexes and 72 duplexes with major damage.

"Nearly 400 homes have been destroyed or damaged," Dorroh said, summing up the storm's overall effect as "just devastating - massive damage. ... That's a large percentage of the homes in the town and that doesn't include the businesses that have been damaged as well."

The city is presently sheltering residents at the Caruthersville Community Center, according to Dorroh.

No further information about the tornado fatality in Braggadocio, which is located about six miles west of Caruthersville along Route U, was available at presstime.

In Stoddard County, Paul Britt Jr., 42, of Circle City was killed when his mobile home flipped over. Circle City is located between Dexter and Morehouse north of Highway 60 near Highway N.

The man's 12-year-old son, who reportedly lived with Britt in the mobile home, was taken to Missouri Southern Healthcare in Dexter for injuries.

"The man's son just had little scratches and bruises," said a spokesperson for the Stoddard County Sheriff's Department.

In Dexter, some residents were still without power Monday morning but were back online by the afternoon.

"We had a bunch of powerlines down," said Paul Haubold, Dexter's police chief.

AmerenUE workers responded quickly and restored electricity to most of the town Sunday evening. "They were out before sundown Sunday afternoon shortly after the storm moved though," Haubold said.

Dexter's street crews were still cleaning up debris Monday, according to Haubold, "but it had nothing to do with UE's problems."

Haubold said his information about the powerline repairs was from his dispatcher as he had traveled to Caruthersville along with some Dexter Fire Department personnel to lend assistance.

"Those people are in dire straights down there," Haubold said. "I've seen some tornado damage, but this here was tough."