Halloween storm in Claiborne Co. causes much damage to buildings, cars

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TAZEWELL, Tenn. (WATE) – Damage in Claiborne County was extensive on Thursday Halloween, with downed trees and power lines in the Tazewell and New Tazewell areas.

Early in the afternoon county leaders and emergency responders created a mobile command unit downtown to address the damage.

Claiborne County Mayor Joe Brooks says they had a number of reports of down power lines and trees.

“Volunteer firefighters and EMS folks are going out to check that stuff to see the damage and any kind of property or live damage there may be. I think for the most part everybody’s good right now. We’re still trying to assess some of those that we’re getting. Well, what they [residents] need to know is since it’s a storm event, we are working with TEMA right now, the Emergency Management Agency and we will do assessments on that to see if there’s anything we can do through TEMA to help them out.”

The Claiborne County Emergency Management confirmed Thursday they did call for TEMA assistance due to the fast-moving storm damage.

Chief Josh Miracle of Tazewell/New Tazewell Fire Department says there were reports of homes damaged and downed trees near Whitaker Street.

The roof of Duncan Motor Company was ripped off during the storm. Owner C.B. Duncan tells us he was in the office when it hit and had no idea what was happening, though he did hear an explosion, thinking it was a transformer.

“A friend of mine was coming up the road, he came running in and asked me if I was hurt. I said, ‘No, I’m fine.’ And he said, ‘You don’t know what happened do ya?’ I said, ‘Well, no maybe not,’ and he said, ‘You don’t have a roof on your building. It’s from here to the intersection.’ It took the whole top off my building. I had an old roof under that one. It’s leaking a lot but it’s not pouring it seems like. If I hadn’t had that, I’d be flooded out by now,” said Duncan.

At Walters State Community College Claiborne Campus, a tree smashed a car when the storm hit. Crews cut down and removed what they could of the tree.

“We just heard a lot of wind up against the windows. When I looked out, you really couldn’t hardy see between where my office window is and the gymnasium, which is only like 30 or 40-feet. About 10 seconds later, on my phone, a tornado warning came. I got all of our students, one thing Walters State always does is prepare us for any kind of natural disaster. We’ve trained to do that so we took our students into a secure area. They stayed there until we got the all clear sign,” said Marlin Curnutt, Director of Student Success.

A tree fell on a vehicle at the State Claiborne County Campus. (Photo: Kim Bolton Dean Walters)

RELATED: Halloween storms leave 26,000 without power, downed trees in East TN

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