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Coroner identifies 13 people killed in Dawson Springs, Kentucky

APTOPIX Midwest Tornadoes
Posted at 10:32 PM, Dec 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 11:00:38-05

DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Hopkins County Coroner's Office has identified the 13 people who died after a tornado swept through the small town of Dawson Springs, Kentucky late last week.

The deceased men and women range in age from 34 to 86 years old.

Almost nothing was spared in Dawson Springs.

“It’s heart-wrenching to see just total devastation. Homes, 500 to 700 homes are just leveled. They’re not there. All of their industries are gone. Their restaurants are damaged, so this is huge hit for this community,” said Kevin Cotton, the mayor of Madisonville.

On the outskirts of Dawson Springs, homes were reduced to rubble and trees were toppled, littering the landscape for a span of at least a mile.

“It looks like a bomb went off. It’s just completely destroyed in areas,” said Jack Whitfield Jr., the Hopkins County judge-executive.

He estimated that more than 60% of the town, including hundreds of homes, was “beyond repair.”

“A full recovery is going to take years,” he said.

Tim Morgan, a volunteer chaplain for the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Department, said he’s seen the aftermath of tornadoes and hurricanes before, but nothing like this.

“Just absolute decimation. There is an entire hillside of houses that are 3 feet tall now,” he said.

This story was originally reported by Jordan Mickle on Scripps station WLEX in Lexington, Kentucky.