Archive for Monday, May 23, 2011

Several Douglas County residents helping with Reading tornado relief efforts

May 23, 2011


A handful of Douglas County residents already have deployed to help with recovery in Reading, devastated by a tornado Saturday night.

Teri Smith, Douglas County Emergency Management director, said two Lawrence Douglas County Fire and Medical division chiefs, Bill Stark and Sean Coffey, have been sent to Reading as part of the Northeast Kansas incident management team.

Stark is the team’s incident commander, and Coffey is the planning chief. Smith said both men have been deployed several times to help in emergencies, including with the 2007 Greensburg tornado. Smith said the incident management team is assisting Lyon County’s emergency management director in helping the community in its recovery efforts.

A tornado swept through the town northeast of Emporia and 67 miles southwest of Lawrence Saturday night, killing one person and destroying at least 20 homes.

In addition to Stark and Coffey, two Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies were scheduled to provide security and other law enforcement functions in Reading on Monday, said Sgt. Steve Lewis, a sheriff’s spokesman.

Nick Bundy, a Westar Energy spokesman, said a Lawrence-based crew was in Reading helping repair damage.

Smith said Douglas County residents who want to help tornado victims in Reading or Joplin, Mo., should donate to the American Red Cross instead of trying to ship donations, such as food and clothing directly.

“Cash donations are really truly the best way because (emergency management leaders) are able to purchase what they need,” Smith said.


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