25 People Injured in Southeast Kansas Tornado
BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) – Twenty-five people were injured and dozens of homes and businesses were destroyed by a tornado in the southeastern Kansas town of Baxter Springs, authorities said late Sunday night.
One person died, but it was not clear whether the death was related to the storm, according to Southeast Kansas Incident Management Team spokeswoman Kari West.
Cherokee County emergency manager Jason Allison estimated the tornado struck around 5:45 p.m. It was roughly two- to three-blocks wide, and cut diagonally through the town of about 4,200 people from southwest to northeast, West said.
Sixty to 70 homes were destroyed, as well as 20 to 25 businesses, Allison said. Emergency personnel from multiple agencies went through each of the damaged properties more than once, and said everyone was accounted for, West said.
Nine of the injured people were taken to area hospitals, but their conditions were not immediately available, West said.
Authorities turned away people trying to enter the town, partly because of a leaking gas line near downtown. Gov. Sam Brownback declared a state of disaster emergency for Baxter Springs at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
The tornado was one of several that hit parts of the Midwest on Sunday. Six miles to the south of Baxter Springs, a tornado killed one person and injured 6 in Quapaw, Okla.
“We are pretty confident that this is the same tornado that struck both Quapaw and Baxter Springs,” National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Griffin told the Joplin (Mo.) Globe.
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management said the violent weather also toppled a grain elevator onto railroad tracks, derailed six train cars, and damaged six homes in the southeastern Kansas town of Hammond, about five miles north of Fort Scott. A tornado touchdown was also reported in the Cherokee County town of Galena, but a police dispatcher was not aware of any damage.
About 75 miles north of Baxter Springs, Linn County emergency manager Douglas Barlet said some barns and structures were destroyed but no one was injured when at least one tornado struck late Sunday afternoon near the Missouri border. Some roads in the mainly rural southeastern part of Linn County were blocked by fallen trees, Barlet said.
Barlet said it appeared that two tornadoes hit the county one that moved north and a second that crossed into Bates County in west-central Missouri. Television news helicopters showed the tornado churning across farmland near the Bates County town of Hume, damaging one building before it lifted. No injuries were reported there.
Associated Press writer Dana Fields in Kansas City, Mo., contributed to this report.
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