Tornadoes Pound Chattanooga Area; Dozens Of Homes Heavily Damaged; Many Entrapments; 2 Killed In Hamilton County; 21 Treated At Erlanger For Injuries

Monday, April 13, 2020
A family near East Brainerd Road and I-75 raced to their basement just seconds before a tornado struck and left their kitchen in shambles
A family near East Brainerd Road and I-75 raced to their basement just seconds before a tornado struck and left their kitchen in shambles

A relentless line of tornadoes battered the Chattanooga area Sunday night sending 21 people to Erlanger Hospital, demolishing dozens of homes, leaving a number of people entrapped, and causing other extensive property damage and widespread power outages. 

Two Hamilton County residents have died from the storm. One was 29-year-old Raffell Jenkins, who was in bed in a house on Wilcox Boulevard at home with his children and girlfriend when a tree fell on the bedroom.

Erlanger Health System officials said the 21 patients were treated at three Erlanger emergency departments since the overnight storms. Many individuals suffered broken bones and laceration injuries from collapsed buildings and fallen trees.   Erlanger Baroness Hospital received 15 patients. Children’s Hospital at Erlanger treated one patient. Five patients were treated at Erlanger East Hospital. 

Fire officials said there were approximately 17 injuries, the majority of which were trauma-related, and 150 structures were damaged, both residential and commercial. 

Beginning Monday night, law enforcement officers were being placed at intersections of the hardest-hit areas and only confirmed residents will be allowed in between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.

There was widespread tornado damage in East Brainerd as well as a number of other sections of town.

Grace Baptist Academy was especially hard hit with all buildings on campus heavily damaged. The second story and roof of the high school building were demolished and the main school building at the front also had substantial damage. A school sign was blown half a mile down the road into a house. 

Five people died in storms in Murray County, Ga., and a tornado was reported to have touched down at Halls Valley Road at Trion, Ga., leaving extensive property damage.

A storm victims family reunification center was opened at the Hamilton YMCA on Shallowford Road. It was originally to be at Grace Baptist Church, 7816 Shallowford Road, but it suffered extensive roof damage.

Hamilton County EMS also was responding on a number of gas leaks and flooding situations. 

Fire officials said, "The Chattanooga Fire Department is responding to hundreds of calls stemming from severe weather, including damaged structures and houses and reports of people trapped in their homes. We have shifted resources to the East Brainerd area and called in extra, off-duty personnel. Our crews are working to get to these scenes, dealing with downed trees and power lines.

"We have firefighters on foot and using ATVs going door to door in different subdivisions, including neighborhoods on Igou Gap Road, Gray Road, and Jenkins Road- just to name a few locations. Several people have been transported with injuries. We are working to get to more than 300 addresses and we are seeing heavy damage.  

"Our Urban Search and Rescue teams and Special Operations Division are assisting the fire companies on the ground. A unified command post has been set up at the Lowe’s on Gunbarrel Road to coordinate response efforts.

"Areas hit have multiple collapses, injuries, trees down, gas leaks, and power lines down. Crews are working as quickly and as efficiently as possible to help those in need while mitigating hazards. This will be a prolonged operation.

"We appreciate the assistance of EPB, CPD, Hamilton County EMS, Puckett EMS, Yates Towing & Recovery, Public Works and NABCO Electric." 

EMS responded on collapsed buildings at:

8395 Community Place, 1009 Gillespie Road, 1725 Gray Road, 6976 Tiffany Lane, 8306 Pine Ridge Road, 2225 Peterson Drive, 2410 Hickory Ridge Drive, 3401 Campbell Street, 4037 Smith Lane, 4220 Old Woodland Drive, 2318 Bending Oak Drive, 10 Woodvale Ave., 8102 Holly Crest Drive, 2803 St. Lawrence Road, 4227 Green Shanty Road, 2027 Merlin Drive, 3512 Cathy Lane, 8249 Standifer Gap Road, 8830 Pebble Creek Road, 8081 Angie Drive, 8116 Fallen Maple Drive, 1097 North Sanctuary Road, 5601 Old Mission Road, 7634 Hurricane Loop, 2509 Sharron Drive, 6953 Glen Errol Way, North Willow Street at Oak Street, 2709 Autumn Chase Drive, 7922 Bill Reed Road, 7839 Shale Street, 8300 Harvest Oak Lane, 2883 Old Britain Circle, 7933 Shallowmeade Lane, 6736 Harbor Terrace, 2804 Wind Thrush Drive, 4044 East Freedom Circle, 7844 Legacy Park Court, 7549 Stephen Lane, 4187 Auburn Hills Drive, 825 Mount Belvoir Drive, 4000 Brock Road, 1772 Holly Oak Lane, 8341 Community Place, 2426 Jenkins Road, and 4015 Shady Oak Drive, 7510 Shallowford Road, 2517 Kimberly Ann Lane, 5057 Little Debbie Parkway, 1715 Gray Road, 2604 Tunnel Blvd., 2400-2409 Tunnel Blvd., 8210 Bill Reed Road, 3982 Buckner Lane, 3959 Auburn Hills Drive, 4221 Old Woodland Drive, 1012 Roselawn Drive, 4124 Pittman Lane, 8088 Birch Drive, 3930 Rhinehart Road, 8007 Holly Hills Drive, 2603 Allison Drive, 6101 Lottie Lane, 3936 Rhinehart Road, 7719 Shallowford Road, 4719 Pawnee Trail, 8163 Pine Crest Drive, 8202 Cicero Trail, 4856 Patten Town Road, 6127 Shadyway Lane, 4612 Dusty Trail Lane, 2815 Hidden Trail Lane, 2422 Hickory Ridge Drive, 4916 Pine Circle, 4218 Shady Oak Drive, 2502 Maplewood Drive, 213 Shawnee Trail, 8112 Angie Drive, 2325 Peterson Drive, 7301 East Brainerd Road, 2707 Autumn Chase Drive, 8250 Clipper Drive, 3340 Pinewood Ave., 8008 Birch Drive, 7755 Igou Gap Road, 3604 Whitehead Ave., 8080 Angie Drive, 5245 Lomnick Drive, 2021 Jenkins Road, 2013 Galahad Road, 4127 Lost Oaks Drive, 2515 Kimberly Ann Lane, 3604 Wilcox Blvd., 919 Charlotte Ave., 8734 Holly Crest Drive, 7114 Jarnigan Road, 4217 Patten Town Road, 2821 Bent Oak Drive, 1849 Daylong Place, 7817 Laurelton Drive, 2209 Peterson Drive, 8111 Holly Crest Drive, 8273 Elbe Drive, 6802 Glover Road, 2329 Jenkins Road, 7845 Safari Drive, 121 Andie Lane, 607 Clarendon Street, 4504 Woodland Drive, 9030 Pineview Place, 8258 Thoroughbred Drive, 2514 Jeffery Drive, 7711 Legends Way, 7932 Shallowmeade Lane, 8680 Belleau Woods Drive, 8107 Standifer Gap Road, 1618 Bush Road, 8205 Hollycrest Drive, 7807 Shinnecock Trail, 1004 Roselawn Drive, 8200-8245 Thoroughbred Drive, 9300 Messenger Lane, 1004 Roselawn Drive, 4491 Palemino Drive, 7620 Shallowford Road, 8504 Jameson Lane, 4015 Patten Town Road, 4016 Patten Town Road, 2335 Jennifer Drive, 7841 Avalon Acres Court, 2423 Baskette Way, Jenkins Road at Batters Place Road, 8113 Holly Hills Drive, 2876 Old Britain Circle, 1614 Gray Road, 2300 Peterson Drive, 2403 Jenkins Road, 1946 Jenkins Road, 4653 Dusty Trail Lane, 2403 Jenkins Road, 1810 Richmond Lane, 1805 Gray Road, 24 Frawley Road, 2500 Sharron Drive, 8126 Holly Crest Drive, 8464 Community Place, 8111 Fallen Maple Road, 4209 Auburn Hills Drive, 4029 Buckner Lane, 7845 Legacy Park Court, 7611 Ziegler Road, 2404 Jenkins Road, 7012 Palermo Drive, 25 Vista Drive, 8135 Fallen Maple Drive, 2501 Allison Drive, 2882 Old Britain Circle, 7815 Dunwoody Drive, 505 Menlo Street, 4166 Auburn Hills Drive, 1804 North Concord Road, 4049 Auburn Hills Drive, 7318 Haven Hill Lane, 8189 Bill Reed Road, 8109 Bill Reed Road, 8107 Standifer Gap Road, 1811 Terri Lynn Drive, 440 South Crest Road, 9065 Emerywood Trail, 1812 Terri Lynn Drive, 7815 Dunwoody Drive, 8005 Batters Place Road, 2507 Jeffery Drive, 2032 Gallahad Road, 304 North St. Marks Ave., 2200 Launcelot Road, 7951 Batters Place Road, 4201 Patten Town Road, 8422 Community Place, 7554 Igou Gap Road, 2212 Launcelot Road, 1316 Joiner Road, 900 Airport Road, and 743 Lanoir Street.

It brought significant power outages to East Brainerd as well as East Ridge. North Chattanooga and Brainerd both had significant power outages. Ooltewah-Collegedale had moderate outages. There were scattered outages along South Broad Street. 

A family in Brainerd said they huddled in a hallway as they heard winds roaring overhead and trees falling outside. They afterward went out and saw a number of trees down, including a large one across the street.

At a house near I-75 and the East Brainerd exit, a family raced to the basement just before their house was struck. They had extensive damage to the kitchen area.

A significant storm cell reportedly hit the Bradley County area.

First Responder agencies from Hamilton County continued to work rescue efforts throughout the night. Mutual Aid agencies for law enforcement were sent from Meigs, McMinn and Rhea counties. Hamilton County EMS transported 14 patients to local hospitals. Additional ambulance services assisted HCEMS with patient transports - Puckett EMS, Erlanger EMS, Ambu bus, Amerimed EMS, Lifeguard EMS and Meigs County EMS. An additional 15 units from the Tennessee Highway Patrol were assisting with search and rescue efforts. Strike teams from surrounding counties will be assisting Chattanooga Fire Department and Hamilton County Volunteer Fire Departments. These strike teams consisted of the following fire departments: Knoxville, Rural Metro, Karnes, Upper Cumberland, Putnam County, Crossville, Smithville and White County.

Chattanooga Gas officials said, "Chattanooga Gas employees are on the ground coordinating with first responders following severe weather striking communities near Hamilton and Bradley counties. Based on initial inspections, we have already identified and repaired one damaged gas main, and we are working to safely and efficiently determine how many customer service lines and meters also require repairs. Throughout this process, our employees will continue to practice social distancing and, when necessary, wear personal protective equipment as part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage customers who suspect a natural gas leak to call 911 or the Chattanooga Gas 24-hour emergency phone line at 866-643-4170 from a safe location. Do not operate any machinery or equipment that might cause a spark or create an open flame." 

Walnut Avenue in Dalton was closed between Lester Avenue and Airport Road near the Dalton Mall due to storm damage to a large utility pole. The pole is unstable and needs to be replaced. The Dalton Police Department expects Walnut Avenue to remain closed near the mall through the morning commute so drivers should plan alternate routes.

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann said, "Our area was just dealt a terrible blow, with many businesses and individuals already struggling to deal with the effects of COVID-19, we now have the added challenge of rebuilding after devastating tornadoes. In the face of adversity, we always come together to help our neighbors, no one in this community is alone in their struggle. My staff and I stand ready, at every step of the way, to help our community get back on its feet.” 



Home on Gunbarrel Road
Home on Gunbarrel Road
- photo by Dalton Temple

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