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Local workers preparing to head south after deadly tornadoes

Posted at 10:38 PM, Dec 11, 2021

(WXYZ) — Two dozen tornadoes spanning at least four states have left upwards of 70 people dead.

Overnight, the town of Mayfield, Kentucky was completely destroyed, devastated by a massive tornado that potentially traveled more than 200 miles on the ground. Minutes before it hit Mayfield, it traveled right past the home of Demetrious Burns.

“Kind of frightening," Burns said of the storm as it approached. "My wife cleaned out a couple of closets up under our stairwell, and we were prepared to hunker down under our stairwells.”

Burns lives on a farm a few miles outside of town. His home was not a direct hit and had no damage, but some of his neighbors down the road were right in the tornado's path.

“It hit my neighbors barn... killed a couple Amish neighbors, and then it moved forward into Mayfield,” Burns said.

So far, more than 70 people have been found dead in Kentucky, including dozens who were killed in a candle factory.

Metro Detroiters with family members in Mayfield have been watching the damage in horror. One woman told 7 Action News "It's been less than 24 hours, and it's a helpless feeling being 600 miles away.”

Belfor Restoration, headquartered in Metro Detroit, has sent roughly 40 or more workers to the hard-hit areas from Detroit. Still, they likely will be sending more.

“Our phones started to ring very soon after those first tornadoes touched down,” said Sheldon Yellen, CEO of Belfor Worldwide. "People are being recruited right now for departure tomorrow (Sunday) from the Detroit area.”

Burns took pictures of the damage Saturday morning as he went into town to bring food and clothes to friends. He’s opened his home to those who lost theirs and is still in shock at what his Western Kentucky town looks like today.

“You see the pictures and you see pictures from other storms, and you’re wondering whether it’s really real or not until you actually put your eyes on it," Burns said. "It’s terrifying to see that.”