Boyle emergency management director certain storm was a tornado

Published 8:00 am Monday, December 13, 2021

Severe storms arrived in Boyle County some time after 3 a.m. Saturday morning, leaving property damage in its wake. Fortunately there were no injuries reported at the end of the day Saturday.

“County wide we’ve had a considerable amount of damage that we see a lot with straight-line winds, but this was for sure a tornado here,” said Boyle County Emergency Management Director Mike Wilder. “There’s too much twisting. Now, with all that being said, the weather service will be here to confirm that, but you take it from Mike Wilder, this was a tornado. There’s too much of a debris field here and too much damage not to be a tornado.”

Wilder said there were a lot of downed limbs and wires in the county.

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“We’ve had some roads blocked and some high water. There are lines down, a lot of limbs down, and a lot of trees down – all of the typical things we get with these type of things,” Wilder said.

Although there were no injuries, property damage across the county was substantial. Jeremy Hardin lives on Airport Road in Junction City. He and his family had lived in their home for about four years, but he grew up in the area, with family still living very near his home.

When day broke Saturday morning, Hardin’s home had no roof remaining due to the storms.

“It hit about 3:30 or 4 this morning,” Hardin said. “Everybody’s fine, but the house is not livable.”

Hardin said he heard some wind, and a loud pop, but didn’t realize the roof was off of his home at first.

“I didn’t know the roof had come off until we started to go outside and I could see light through my living room,” he said, adding,

“Everybody’s OK, so that’s all that really matters.”

Hardin’s vehicles were parked behind his home. A relative on site said one of Hardin’s vehicles was untouched by the storm. Another that was parked right beside it had been tossed about 20 yards away and came to rest on its side, the windows broken out and a toolbox out of the truck and resting in the home’s yard.

“It’s probably a total loss. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Hardin said.

A large shop building behind the home was also destroyed.

Hardin’s mother lives beside his home, and her house had some damage, although nothing as severe as his. What she did have was a great deal of metal in her front yard.

Airport destruction
The metal in her yard was from the Danville-Boyle County Airport, which suffered a major blow Saturday morning. Three hangars on the airfield were completely destroyed, and along with them, about a dozen aircraft were also destroyed, according to Wilder.

Danville-Boyle County Airport Operations Manager Nick Barker said he arrived at the airport around 5 a.m. Saturday.

“We suspect it came through around 4 a.m., and we definitely think it’s a tornado the way all the metal and airplanes are twisted across the field,” he said.

Boyle County Judge-Executive Howard Hunt said the destruction at the airport was probably the most significant in terms of the value of property damage. He added that others lost homes and farm property, but thankfully no injuries have been reported and no lives were lost locally.

“The devastation around the county is significant. The airport is probably the most significant of all, but there are several houses and farms,” he said. “There’s a lot of other damage around the county, but all in all, we were fairly well blessed because it could have been a whole lot worse.”

Hunt said he thinks the storm was a tornado and not just straight-line winds, but he added, as did Wilder, that the final decision would be left up to the National Weather Service and FEMA.

Sunday afternoon members of the 103rd Brigade Support Battalion with the Kentucky National Guard out of Harrodsburg were on the airport property installing Concertina wire, more commonly known as razor wire, around the perimeter of the airfield to provide additional security.

“It’s a pretty significant deterrent for unwanted parties on the property,” Hunt said. “We’ve had our sheriff’s department out here, and when they’re not on a call anywhere else in the county, they have tried to provide some security here. We’re going to have barricades on the road so we can keep out people who don’t need to be here.”

Barker said the airport contacted the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as its insurance company, and many of the aircraft owners were in the process of contacting their insurance companies.

“Once the insurance people get here they will inspect everything. Some of the owners are out here gathering their belongings that they can right now, headsets and little accessories like that, tools,” he said. “As far as the main rubble, we’re leaving that until the insurance companies come and examine.”

Barker added that the airport had some of its maintenance crews doing some patchwork on hangars that had lesser damage but were not total losses.

He said the three hangars that were destroyed primarily housed single-engine piston aircraft, and the values of the planes vary dramatically. When asked about an estimate of the financial impact, he said it would be “in the millions for sure,” adding, “Especially the way prices of everything is going, to rebuild a hangar right now it’s outrageous, and we’ve got three of them.”

Two hangars that housed larger corporate planes, including jets, suffered minor damage in comparison, according to Barker.

“We had no injuries, and that’s the main thing. Air Evac houses some of their employees here overnight in sleeping quarters, but luckily it missed all of them,” he said. “That’s the number one blessing. Property can be replaced. We’ll rebuild and go from there.”

First Apostolic Church
Danville’s First Apostolic Church, located at 1116 Perryville Road, had its roof ripped from the building, letting water inside and causing significant damage to the sanctuary.

“Police dispatch called me and said the roof was gone. I’d been up since about 4, and my wife had been up all night. I was surprised at the damage. We’ve got a lot of work ahead, but the Lord will help us,” said Wayne Naylor, pastor of the church.

Naylor said he really didn’t expect the amount of damage he found because he didn’t see a lot of damage around his home or anywhere else in town Saturday morning.

“I was hoping the sanctuary had been preserved,” he said. The church had recently updated the sanctuary, and Naylor said new carpet was installed only a couple of months ago.

He said Saturday morning that he wasn’t sure what the church would do about services in the near future, but said he had been thinking about it.

“I’m just thankful no one is hurt. This can all be replaced in time. We’ll get it figured out,” he said.