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12 dead in Muhlenberg County after weekend storms

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Ryan Van Velzer
/

Twelve people are dead in Muhlenberg County, including a child as young as 5 months old, first responders say.

They’re among the at least 80 people across the state who have died from the tornado system that ripped through overnight Friday, said Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman Sunday, during a visit to the county. That toll is expected to rise in the coming days as the complete scale of destruction comes into view. 

Coleman came through Muhlenberg County Sunday to assure residents that all the communities who’ve been affected by the storm will receive the help they need to rebuild. 

The tornado tore its way through Bremen and Moorman in Muhlenberg County, leaving behind a trail of devastation never before seen by those who live there.

“It’s a catastrophic event,” said Muhlenberg County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Alex Piper. “I’ve been a resident of Muhlenberg County my entire life, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Emergency crews began search and rescue operations shortly after the worst of the storm subsided Friday night. By Sunday morning, Piper said those operations have concluded.

The ages of the 12 dead range from 5 months old to a person in their 70s. Those who lost their homes have stayed with relatives or in county shelters, Piper said. 

First responders were still working to clear roads Sunday morning. Piper said utility crews are trying to bring back power as soon as possible amid freezing overnight temperatures.

A group of teenagers were among those who showed up outside the local fire station in Bremen to help Sunday morning. They drove ATVs and wore work gloves, ready to help clear debris and find belongings. 

Macy Fields, 16, said it’s been traumatizing to see the community she’s lived in her whole life so completely decimated. Fields said her home survived, but her friend lost his. 

“It’s heartbreaking,” she said.

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