By Baptist and Reflector Staff
Even as damage is being assessed, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief (TBDR) teams are responding in the wake of a devastating tornado that ripped through Nashville and traveled across Middle Tennessee as far as Cookeville today in the early morning hours, killing at least 19.
“We have local teams that have already gotten out and are trying to help people in Nashville and the surrounding area,” said Wes Jones, “Meanwhile we are working with emergency management services to better understand where we can deploy resources.”
Jones said that several people have contacted the TBDR offices asking how they can help. He said team callouts will be coming soon, but right now the best way to help in the effort is financially. Giving can be made directly to TBDR through tndisasterrelief/contributions. Any gifts given today will go directly to “Tennessee Storms.”
The death toll has jumped to 19 as of 9:30 am Central, with 14 of those deaths reported in Putnam Country. Davidson, Wilson and Benton Counties are also reporting deaths. At least one church staff member at a Tennessee Baptist church is among that total, with more details regarding that death coming in an update.
Damage in Nashville is extensive, with authorities reporting 48 buildings collapsed, 156 people were transported to area hospitals and more than 400 calls were made to emergency services. Both the Nashville and Putnam County Fire Departments are going door to door searching for survivors and victims.
Several Tennessee Baptist churches were damaged including:
- The Church at Lockland Springs, Nashville
- First Baptist Church, Mt. Juliet
- Washington Avenue Baptist Church, Cookeville
- Green Hill Church, Mt. Juliet
- Fairview Church, Lebanon
- West Hills Baptist Church, Lebanon
- The Nashville Baptist Association office sustained damage as the tornado passed in its immediate area.
Governor Bill Lee said in his press conference this morning that this was a Level 3 emergency and federal help is also being sought to assist in the aftermath.
“This is a rapidly developing situation and we will continue to post updates as more information is made available,” Jones said.
To share updates on TBC churches that sustained damaged, please email LWilkey@tnbaptist.org
For more information, visit the tndisasterrelief.org website and BaptistandReflector.org.