Preschool reopens after tornado - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Preschool reopens after tornado

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PADUCAH, Ky. -- Nearly two weeks ago, a tornado ripped through a church in West Paducah while 50 people were inside the building, most of them preschoolers. 

Those children along with staff members will return to Mt. Zion Baptist Church for the time on Monday after the storm hit on March 14. 

Shingles, plywood, metal roofing, and debris from the 175-year-old church still lie on the lawn.

Senior Pastor Wes Conner is calling the tornado the "miracle at Mt. Zion" because there were 50 people inside the building when an EF-2 tornado ripped through West Paducah and no one was injured. 

"Everyone was safe and in fine condition," Conner said. "No one was hurt, not even an scratch."

Conner said the 40 kids inside the building were as old as 5-years-old and as young as infants. There were also ten adults with them. 

"They went into a central classroom that had been designated as the safe room," Conner said. 

Conner said the school just happened to practice their severe weather protocol days before the tornado hit. 

"Part of the nursery was hit and parts of the ceiling caved in, but all of the babies were taken out before that happened," Conner said. 

Ten days after the church building was torn to pieces, the church is reopening their preschool and nursery services in a new building. 

"We had to move the entire church operation into the Family Life and Worship Center," Conner said. 

Inside the building is the worship center, the preschool, nursery and the church office. Despite being crammed in so closely, everyone at Mt. Zion is just happy to be safe. 

"Nobody was hurt, nobody was injured and we can get through some temporary inconvenience," Conner said. 

Conner said the preschool will remain in the center for the remainder of the school year. 

The church has been holding their services on Sunday at 10 a.m. in the worship center as normal. 

Conner said they are waiting to hear back from the engineers and insurance company on what they need to do with the church building. 

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