Firefighters responded to several calls Saturday as a tornado and storms rolled through the area causing damage to multiple properties.
According to the National Weather Service, a tornado rapidly developed Saturday evening near Hillsboro Road east of Park Hills. The tornado touched down at 9:14 p.m., and its path was reported to be a half-mile long. The width of the tornado’s path was reported to be 125 yards.
The tornado initially caused sporadic tree damage to a grove of trees west of Hillsboro Road. As it approached Hillsboro Road, the tornado widened and became stronger, causing EF-1 damage to a home by collapsing its southward facing exterior wall.
As the area near city limits was being battered by tornado winds, firefighters were dispatched at 9:19 p.m. to a small fire at a residence on Sixth Street inside city limits.
According to Park Hills Fire Chief Brad Weiss, a power outage or possibly a lightning strike caused electricity in the wiring to short-out to the water lines of the home, which started a small fire in the dryer vent.
The fire did not make its way into the house, but the water lines bursting caused water damage to the residence.
Firefighters ventilated the residence and disconnected the water and electric utilities to the house until repairs could be made.
As firefighters were finishing up on the Sixth Street fire scene, several calls began coming in regarding structure damages and power lines down in different areas.
Several houses on Hillsboro Road, where the tornado touched down, were damaged, and firefighters were called to assist residents in the area.
Weiss said that when emergency workers arrived at one of the Hillsboro residences, two of the structure’s walls had been blown off the foundation.
Once it was apparent of how much damage had been caused in the area, emergency workers began checking the surrounding residences.
A garage attached to a house had partially collapsed at another Hillsboro Road property in the same area, and a back porch collapsed off of a separate house nearby.
In the area of Route O between Hillsboro Road and Hunter’s Ridge, Weiss said they received multiple reports of storm damage, including a carport that had blown into the roadway, as well as roof damage to several houses.
Toward the end of the storm, firefighters also responded to three transformers that were on fire.
Park Hills firefighters were preparing to head home from the station when they were dispatched to a fire at a residence on Rebel Drive at 2:16 a.m.
The resident of the home was reportedly boiling a pan of oil for cooking, and a fire had started on the stove before spreading to the kitchen cabinets.
Firefighters arrived on the scene within seven minutes to find flames showing from windows. They extinguished the fire, which was contained to one room of the house. A water line also broke in the house causing damage.
Before the storm began, the Park Hills Fire Department responded at 5 p.m. to a working fire in an uninhabited mobile home on Jefferson Street in Park Hills. Weiss said the mobile home was a total loss.
Working the scenes of the multiple calls Saturday were firefighters from Park Hills, Big River/Bonne Terre, Desloge, Leadington, Leadwood and Bismarck.
Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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