Two Shelters Open In McNairy County To Help Storm Victims

(Bethel Springs, TN) McNairy County Schools are closed Friday.

The storms earlier this week did so much damage they’re still not ready for students.

The National Weather Service believes straight line winds, not a tornado, damaged close to a hundred buildings in Bethel Springs and broke power lines.

Shelters being opened to help all those people left in the dark. 

Bethel Springs Alderman Gary Bizzell spent Thursday going door-to-door, checking on folks who are still without electricity.

“And  make sure that nobody is sitting out here in the cold. Twenty degree weather’s not good. And there’s a lot of elderly people.”

Bizzell says after Wednesday’s powerful storm, McNairy County opened two shelters to give people a warm place to stay.

“They got stuff set up for meals and cots to sleep. And I believe you can take showers and all at either place.”

One is at the Selmer Community Center and the other is at First Baptist Bethel Springs.

That’s where Julie Phillips and her three children came Thursday for a hot meal.

“We have gas heat, thank god, that’s keeping us warm.  But no lights and so no refrigeration, no food to cook them and stuff like that.”

Several faith based volunteer groups came to McNairy County to operate shelters and help the community recover.

Utility crews have been working non-stop to replace poles and powerlines, but with so many trees blocking the way, it’s a slow process.

Pamela Ross and her family are coping, but she says it’s hard to forget the violence of Wednesday’s storm.

“It was awful. It was like being in a rolling barrel. It was the most scariest thing I’ve ever experienced.”

She says they can’t repair any damage to their home until the insurance adjuster shows up.

Still in the dark, she’s not sure where her family will stay, but she’s glad to know helps available.

“These people around here are really pitching in. Bethel is pulling together. We are a community and we love each other.”

Alderman Gary Bizzell says there could be as much as 1.2-million dollars in structural damage alone.

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