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Ohio Task Force 1 back home after days of search and rescue efforts following deadly tornadoes

Kentucky tornadoes Ohio Task Force 1
Posted at 6:33 AM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 22:07:38-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Following heartbreak, loss and devastation in western Kentucky, nearly 50 members of Ohio Task Force 1 searched air and ground for victims in the Dawson Springs area, which is north of Mayfield, Kentucky.

The task force was called in for help Sunday morning and arrived Monday. Their efforts spanned three days before coming home Thursday evening.

“This is probably the largest devastation we've seen from a tornado,” said Jim O'Connor, OH-TF1 Task Force Leader.

More than 70 people in Kentucky were killed by the tornadoes. Rebuilding efforts across the state could take months or even years.

“It's impressive both in the size in terms of the geographic area it covered, the number of structures that were destroyed some of the things we saw, a piece of wood that is driven through a brick wall, 300 pound weights that were that were thrown large distances and driven into the ground. Just amazing,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor explained their own battles with stress and sleep deprivation were no match for what families in Kentucky are faced with. Their mission dedicated to providing those families with comfort as they cope with a nightmare.

“It was important to get this done for the people there,” said O’Connor. “We see some difficult things but it's the reassurance of what we can bring to the families there.”