Pendleton Co Sheriff: storms put things in perspective

PENDLETON COUNTY, KY (FOX19) - Pam Mains has survived a tornado once before. It was 1974 and she hunkered down as the trailer at her Pendleton County home was ripped from over her head.  She wept Monday as she recounted that event.  And she wept also for the people of her community, who have now survived devastating and deadly storms that tore through 10 states Friday.

Monday, Pam was with other dozens of volunteers cooking food, bringing in donated food and supplies, and just generally taking care of each other at the Second Twelve Mile Baptist Church in Butler. Fifteen families from that church alone are now homeless.  Most are staying with family members.  All are devastated at the losses, but grateful that their lives were spared.

Rob Mickelson of California, Ky. was burning debris Monday afternoon, and talked about how he had sent his wife, and their 3 and 1-year-old children to a nearby home with a basement.  Rob stayed behind.  Before he knew it, the storm was right on top of him.  He dove down beside an embankment and covered his head.

"Hell was there.  It was like a swarm of bees in the air - debris flying everywhere.  Then it stopped," he said.

Rob says he was in the eye of the storm.  Then it blew once again, and just as quickly as it had come, it was gone.

Pendleton County Sheriff Craig Peoples says in all his years of patrolling the county, he's never seen anything like this.  The devastation, he says, "really puts things in perspective."

Workers from the city of Florence were driving the Pendleton County roads Monday also, sent out by their mayor, just to see if they could help anyone.  They found plenty of takers.  A representative of the Pendleton County Water District was also out, checking in on customers to see if those whose homes were destroyed were ok with having their water turned off.  The representative said the District would be suspending billing.

"It's not right to charge them right now," he said.

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