Athens still cleaning up after tornado

ATHENS (WATE) - Gatlinburg isn't the only city in East Tennessee that's seen devastation this week. Hardworking people in Athens also need help after a tornado.

WATE 6 On Your Side Photojournalist David Killebrew spent a lot of time on Highway 307 Saturday driving the now open road. It had been closed due to the destruction from Wednesday's EF-2 tornado.

Utility crews are working nonstop on damaged power lines. Other relief workers, many of them volunteers, are hauling away debris.

Previous story: 20 injured in Athens tornado early Wednesday morning

Everywhere you turn there are rows of splintered trees, piles of wreckage, homes about to topple over, and some that were destroyed in the storm.

Looking at what's left of the Save-A-Lot store near State Highway 30 in Athens, all that can be seen is a shell full of debris.

The community needs help cleaning up and taking care of those who are left with very little.

"We will need housing, food, the food bank needs to be restocked, things like that, and we need a lot of manpower," said volunteer and local realtor Laura Sullivan

Tammy Carver with the Niota Volunteer Fire Department has been working since the night of the tornadoes. She has one special request:

"Just keep this community in your prayers," she said.

If you'd like to volunteer to help in tornado cleanup, you can sign up and E & E Manufacturing at 2000 Tellico Avenue E in Athens. Their phone number is (423) 649-1700.

However, McMinn County Mayor, John Gentry, posted a request on Facebook that volunteers not go into areas affected by the tornado without specific instructions because they are still dangerous.

McMinn County Mayor John Gentry requests that all well intentioned civic volunteers refrain from engaging until requested. This is due to active emergency operations taking place. Many scenes may still be too dangerous to enter due to downed power lines. Again, volunteers are asked not to enter areas affected by apparent tornadic activity. Athens City, McMinn County, and Etowah City schools are all closed for Wednesday, November 30, 2016.

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