40 kids survive tornado inside West Paducah church - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

40 kids survive tornado inside West Paducah church

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WEST PADUCAH, Ky. -- An EF-2 tornado ripped through a church in McCracken County, where 40 kids were inside attending preschool.

The kids and everyone else inside survived without a scratch.

"I was having breakfast at about 20 after 9 and I heard a big bang," Bob Eddings of West Paducah.

That big bang was the tornado, which plowed through five miles of western McCracken County, including the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in West Paducah.

"A church is not a building," pastor Wes Conner said. "A church is people."

Conner said when the storm hit, they hid in a safe room in the center of the building.  

"The teachers and our preschool director, everybody knew exactly what to do," Conner said. "The children were kept safe. They kept the children singing, playing games."

And everyone made it out safely.

"We're going to look at all of this and we're going to follow the lord's leading to rebuild and we'll come back stronger than ever as a congregation," Conner said.

Conner isn't sure how much repairs will cost and he's sure he won't be able to salvage the chapel.

He also says he's thankful things weren't much, much worse.

One person suffered minor injuries Thursday. McCracken County Sheriff Matt Carter said the man was driving in his truck when a grain bin blew over and wrapped around his vehicle.

Carter said the man, from Cape Girardeau, Mo., only suffered a cut in the wreck. Crews had to extricate him from the vehicle, but otherwise he was fine.

At least three homes were totally destroyed and six others sustained damage, according to officials. There were also several down tree limbs and power lines, cutting power to thousands of people.

Crews plan to work overnight to restore service to everyone affected by Friday, although some people might not see their power come back for longer than that.

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