Nashville Tornado: Multiple Children Among the Dead in Nearby Putnam County

Among the 24 dead from the tornado that ripped through Nashville and Middle Tennessee early Tuesday morning are several children, the Tennesseean reports. At least two dozen people were confirmed killed in a violent tornado that shredded more than 140 buildings and buried people in piles of rubble and wrecked basements.

"There were some children, I'm sorry to say," Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter told the Nashville newspaper. "We are still working to find out ages. It hit so fast, most of these folks were sleeping."

WKRN reporter Josh Breslow wrote that authorities said of the 18 people killed in Putnam County, five of them were children under the age of 13. He said names and ages would be announced "shortly," and that 22 people were still missing in the county.

"This is on a level unlike anything most have ever seen," Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton said. "We 110 percent have been trying to reassure the community, get resources where they need to be, and establish what's necessary to take care of families."

Eighty-eight people were hospitalized at Cookeville Regional Medical Center, including some in critical condition. Another 77 people have been reported missing, but authorities believe some may be unreachable due to power outages.

"We have been able to go door to door on all standing structures that are not demolished," Putnam County Sheriff Eddie Farris said. "That is well over 100 structures, closer to 150."

Porter said some victims were killed in their beds by the rapidly moving twister. "It hit so fast, a lot of folks didn't have time to take shelter," Porter told the Associated Press. "Many of these folks were sleeping."

The governor declared an emergency and sent the National Guard to help with the search-and-rescue efforts. State emergency officials, who initially reported at least 25 dead, revised the toll to 24 fatalities on Tuesday evening after determining one death counted earlier was not storm-related.

Early findings by the National Weather Service survey teams indicated that the damage in Nashville and Wilson County to the east was inflicted by a tornado of at least EF-3 intensity, the agency said. NWS officials will arrive Wednesday to determine the scale and intensity of the cyclone that lasted for only about 10 minutes.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee flew out Tuesday to tour the damage, and President Donald Trump is expected to arrive in the area on Friday. Officials declared a state of emergency for Putnam County and the city of Cookeville to mobilize state and federal aid.

Those seeking to donate or volunteer are asked to email or call 931-646-4636. Donations needed to help victims include diapers, toiletries, nonperishable foods and clothing.


"This is going to be a multiple day event and we're going to need resources, food and so forth for the next several days," Porter said. "Please contact us before you bring things so we can coordinate."

Photo credit: Brett Carlsen / Stringer / Getty