Tornado Smashes Dorms at Tennessee University

JACKSON, Tenn. – When students at Union University heard warnings of an approaching tornado, they immediately took action and found shelter in dormitory restrooms before the twister destroyed several buildings Feb. 5.

The following day, students, faculty and staff found several collapsed two-story buildings of the 13-dormitory complex. Other buildings were missing walls and roofs.

The school has about 3,200 students, with 1,200 living on campus. Around 50 students were taken to the hospital for treatment; nine of those students had injuries classified as serious.

Twenty-six students were stuck behind jammed windows and doors, and the wreckage of floors, walls and furniture. Rescuers had to dig the students out.

Of the 26 students, four female students waited an hour to be rescued, and three male students were trapped for four hours. The students weren’t buried in the rubble.

University President David Dockery said the broadcast warnings and emergency planning helped to prevent more serious injuries. Dockery added that the damage created by the twister was the worst he had seen.

Other tornadoes hit Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky and possibly Alabama. The Tennessee tornado, stretching from Memphis and Nashville, caused multiple fatalities.

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