DEVASTATION: TENNESSEE TORNADO RIPPED THROUGH COOKEVILLE LAST WEEK

By WVUA 23 Reporter Kayla Smith

An EF4 tornado ripped through Putnam County in Tennessee in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Caroline Wood, a WVUA 23 student reporter and Cookeville native, is in Putnam County and spoke with us about what she has seen back home.

“It’s just tons and tons of devastation. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Wood said. “There’s just piles of debris everywhere.”

The storm took the lives of 18 people and injured 88 others.

The tornado left a 2-mile-long path of destruction and damaged or completely destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses.

“I grew up going to the Eco Valley Pool, and that’s completely gone,” Wood said.

“It’s been here for as long as I can remember, and it’s just so heartbreaking to see the places I grew up going to that my friends and family visited, and it’s gone.”

Some of the hardest-hit regions lie along Highway 70 in the Eco Valley area.

“Some of these people lost everything including family members and their lives, and it’s just hard seeing it firsthand and actually being here,” Wood said.

Donations and volunteers have flooded into the area since Tuesday as Cookeville and Putnam County work to clean up and rebuild.

“I’m just so grateful to be from Cookeville, so grateful to be from a community that is coming together during an extremely difficult time and helping each other out,” Wood said.

“I’ve seen people helping their neighbors. I’ve seen strangers helping people, and they have no idea who they are.”

According to Caroline, organizations in the area have received so many donations in the past few days that some can no longer take physical donations of food and supplies. However, if you would like to help, you can donate to the Putnam county tornado relief fund at putnamcountytn.gov/relief/.

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