More than 24 hours after a series of devastating tornadoes swept through the Middle Tennessee area, authorities are releasing the identities of the 24 people who lost their lives. The deaths are spread across multiple counties and include both adults and children, with nearly two dozen people in the area remaining unaccounted for.
To honor the victims, Gov. Bill Lee announced Wednesday that "flags over the Capitol will fly at half-staff until Friday."
Our hearts are with the families across TN facing devastation and heartbreak after deadly tornadoes struck our communities. In memory of the many lives lost, flags over the Capitol will fly at half-staff until Friday. Maria and I continue to send our prayers across the state. pic.twitter.com/zf97KJ4omt— Governor Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) March 4, 2020
President Donald Trump is expected to visit the impacted areas on Friday, saying in a conference on Tuesday that "we send our love and the prayers of the nation to every family that was affected. We will get there, and we will recover, and we will rebuild, and we will help them."
Currently, Tennessee remains under a state of emergency, with thousands still without power and dozens of structures collapsed or severely damaged.
The single fatality in Benton County was identified as 67-year-old Carl Frazee, who was the first victim of the tornado outbreak to be identified. Speaking to the Tennessean, deputy Benton County EMA Director Scott Hill said that Frazee sustained fatal injuries after the storm picked up his mobile home and pushed it across Bethel Chapel Road.
"We found him underneath the sheet metal," Hill said. "He was conscious and talking to us, but he coded as they wheeled him into the hospital here in Camden."
A second person in the mobile home survived, Sheriff Kenny Christopher said.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Metro Nashville Police Department confirmed Michael Dolfini, 36, and his girlfriend, Albree Sexton, 33, as the two fatalities in Davidson County, making them among the first victims to be identified.
According to authorities, the couple were "fatally injured" after being struck by debris on McFerrin Avenue after they left Attaboy lounge, where Dolfini worked, just as the EF-3 tornado touched down.
In Wilson County, Mount Juliet Police confirmed the deaths of three people: 84-year-old James Eaton and 81-year-old Donna Eaton, who died in their home, and 38-year-old Brandy Barker, who was killed while working at a CEVA warehouse.
Tragically, 3 individuals lost their life in Mt. Juliet’s tornado, & our hearts go out to their families & loved ones.
James (84) & Donna (81) Eaton at their home on Catalpa Dr.
Brandy Barker, 38, of Lebanon at a CEVA wearhouse on Athletes Way N while working security. pic.twitter.com/DHqhhh4bI9— Mt. Juliet Police (@MtJulietPolice) March 3, 2020
The police department confirmed that "there are no outstanding reports of missing persons" and "all destroyed structures have been thoroughly searched by multiple crews."
The largest concentration of deaths occurred in Putnam County, where the storms left 18 dead. On Wednesday morning, Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter released their identities, WKRN reported.
The 13 adult victims include: 34-year-old Amanda Cole; 54-year-old Terry Curtis; 67-year-old Patricia Lane; 28-year-old Leisha Littenberry; Jessica Clark — a woman in her 30s; Joshua Kimerblin — a man in his 30s; Erin Kimberlin — a woman in her 30s; Todd Koehler — a man in his 50s; Sue Koehler — a woman in her 50s; Stephanie Fields — a woman in her 30s; Jamie Smith — a woman aged between 30 and 35; and Keith and Cathy Selby, whose ages were not released.
In addition to the 13 adult fatalities were five children, all aged 13 and under: 3 or 4-year-old Hattie Collins, 6 or 7-year-old Dawson Curtis, 2 or 3-year-old Sawyer Kimberlin, 4 or 5-year-old Harlan Marsh, and 12 or 13-year-old Bridget (Ann Marie) McCormick.
The death toll in the county had previously been reported as 19, though that number was adjusted after it was determined that one fatality was unrelated to the storms.
An additional 18 people remain missing in Putnam County. According to WKRN, they include Katherine Julian, Penny Penelope Cole, Dwight Gentry, David Phillips, Maureen Langford & Andi Otis, Tommy Knight, Robin & Bethany Babb, Joey Dedemicis, Denton Nelson, Rick Stegill, Steven Mayo, Karissa Solberg, Breanna Shelby, Joyce Wilson, Cleburn Rice, and Marcia Bullard.
Those on the list are asked to call Putnam County at (931) 646-4636.
The county had previously reported 88 missing Tuesday night, though that number has continued to be adjusted as emergency responders continue their search and recovery efforts.
How to help
Those wishing to support Middle Tennessee as the community recovers from the devastating storm can donate money through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee's Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund.
The Community Resource Center (CRC) is also seeking donations of personal hygiene items, bleach, trash bags, gloves and box cutters.
Meanwhile, Hands On Nashville is working to compile a list of volunteer opportunities, according to the Nashville Scene. Those wishing to volunteer can sign up at HON's volunteer sign-up page by clicking here.
"We anticipate as we identify specific recovery/cleanup project sites that we will load those specific projects onto our site so people can register for them individually," Lindsey Turner, HON's communications director, said. "For now, though, we are pointing folks to the general interest link above to get them in our system so we can communicate with them over these next many days."
A full list of ways to help can be found by clicking here.
If you are in need of help
If you or someone you know needs help, Metro's NERVE site provides up-to-date information on shelters, food and clothing distribution centers, road closures, and more.
TEMA has also compiled a list of resources available to those impacted by the tornadoes. That can be found by clicking here.
AirBnb has also activated its Open Homes Program in the Nashville area, which "connects Airbnb hosts who are willing and able to provide free housing to displaced residents and disaster relief workers in the activation area."