Robert Daniel, a veteran corrections officer at the Graves County, Kentucky, Jail, was found dead on Monday after helping guide people to safety during the tornadoes that hit the area during the early morning of Saturday.
Daniel was overseeing seven inmates working at a candle factory in Kentucky when an alarm warned of an approaching tornado. Daniel swiftly helped the inmates and other workers to a safe room built for such emergency situations. Daniel then returned to the factory floor to help find others who needed help.
“The tornado hit. They turned around and he was gone,” said Pete Jackson, chief deputy at the Graves County Jail. “He put his life in danger to help others. There is no other way to put it,” he added.
At least 74 people have been confirmed dead in Kentucky alone, with at least 90 dead across the country. Kentucky was struck especially hard by the storm, falling prey to four separate tornadoes that tore through the state — one of them razing a path 223 miles long, the longest path of any tornado ever recorded.
Kentucky’s Governor Andy Beshear told reporters on Monday that “Thousands of homes are damaged if not entirely destroyed.
“It may be weeks before we have final counts on both deaths and levels of destruction. You stand in the middle of Mayfield or Dawson, where two-thirds of the town are gone, or in that town in Muhlenberg County, and it’s almost crushing how it feels.”
Tornadoes tear across the United States
The tornadoes were the product of a weather system that caused severe weather across the country, including heavy snowfall throughout the Midwest and western Great Lakes.
President Joe Biden made a speech from Delaware on Saturday afternoon pledging his support for the states that had been impacted by the storm, saying that his administration would “do everything it can possibly do to help.” Biden also said that he had approved Beshear’s emergency declaration for Kentucky and that he plans to travel there once his presence was “not going to get in the way of the rescue and recovery.”
One person at a nursing home in Arkansas was killed during the storm.
The tornadoes also caused the roof of an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, to cave in completely, enclosing workers in the rubble with no escape. The Edwardsville Police Department said on Saturday morning that the storm led to “catastrophic damage to a significant portion” of the warehouse.
Police officers and emergency workers are currently searching the wreckage for survivors. They confirmed that there had been six deaths at the warehouse but that the search through the wreckage was still ongoing.
Hundreds of thousands of homes throughout the affected states were without power over the weekend. PowerOutage.us is currently logging information about the states affected by the storm.