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Nashville, Other Areas Sift Through Tornado Debris

April 18, 1998| From Times Wire Services

NASHVILLE — People searched through debris and counted the cost Friday of tornadoes and storms that savaged Nashville and a series of Southern states, killing at least 11 people.

Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen was stunned by the damage he saw during an aerial tour. He was even more astounded that nobody was killed by the two tornadoes that ripped through the city the day before.

Vice President Al Gore toured the devastation on the hard-hit east side and promised a quick federal assessment of the damage by 14 emergency teams.

"I'm truly inspired by the way the community has pulled together," Gore said. "This could have been an awful lot worse than it was." He also marveled that nobody died among about 100 people injured in Nashville.

Officials said at least 300 homes were damaged in east Nashville. Thirty private planes worth an estimated $3 million were destroyed at Cornelia Fort Airpark, said Bill Colbert, director of operations.

U.S. 70 was littered with uprooted trees, battered houses and twisted billboards.

The Hermitage, where Andrew Jackson lived until his death in 1845, suffered only a few broken windows. But hundreds of trees were uprooted on the 600-acre estate, including three dating from the 1700s.

Six people in rural Tennessee were killed from the storm system that spawned at least eight other tornadoes elsewhere in the state. The second round of tornadoes to hit the South in eight days also killed three people in Kentucky and two in Arkansas.

In Pickett County, along the Kentucky border, between 30 and 40 homes were destroyed and 100 damaged, said county executive Kelly Kiesling, whose own home was among them.

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