Death toll rising in Smithville tornado - - Jackson, MS

Death toll rising in Smithville tornado

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SMITHVILLE, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

By Craig Ford - email

Emergency responders got back to dealing with the utter devastation in Smithville Thursday morning. A curfew was put in place Tuesday night to keep residents safe after a tornado ripped through town, nearly leaving it bare.

From eight miles away, the storm looked ugly, and it got uglier once the storm was gone.

People riding through town were stunned at the damage. You could find it from one end to the other. And you could find people's stories.

"My kitchen door was facing that end, and now it's facing the front," said Smithville resident Carolyn Boyd.

Some of those stories were just as horrific as the damage that seemed to never end.

"What was left was people and bodies everywhere, scattered. It's just the most godawful thing I've seen in my life," said John Pitre.

What's awful for folks is that familiar sights throughout town are now totally unfamiliar.  Smithville Baptist Church was destroyed, and not far away was the church bus, one of many vehicles throughout town that had been tossed around like toys.

Even the dead were not spared from this storm. Some of the grave markers at a Smithville cemetery were lifted from the ground.

However, many people's lives were spared, and they lived to talk about their experience.

"It took me out of the house and blew me back into the house," said one resident.

"All we could say is 'hold on, hold on.' I might have said that five times, and it was over with. It was that quick," added another resident.

Emergency responders quickly arrived to help the hurting and to try to bring some order.

It's obvious the recovery here will take months instead of days. Still, the town's mayor and many others can find something good after all of this.

"Our lives are totally shattered, but, you know, a lot of us are still living. That's to be thankful for," said Smithville Mayor Gregg Kennedy.

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