Lawmaker: Triage center in family’s living room saved lives in Putnam County tornado


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The story of Putnam County tornado victims brought back to life is being told Monday by a Tennessee state lawmaker.

He says it happened in a living room mainly untouched by the area’s deadly storm a week ago tonight.

Sen. Paul Bailey, who represents Putnam County, says emergency responder Darrell Jennings, his wife, and the couple’s two children quickly turned their home into a life-saving triage center when victim after victim was brought there.

The lawmaker met Jennings over the weekend as he visited the tornado-damaged areas.

Sen. Bailey said he learned an unnamed neighbor in a new pickup navigated through debris to bring victims to the Jennings’ home for the lifesaving treatment.

Many were children.

“They were not breathing,” said the Putnam County lawmaker. “They were lifeless and he was able to administer CPR and bring those lifeless children back.”

Bailey added that he learned the pickup was heavily damaged from driving through debris in the dark of night.

The other state lawmaker representing Putnam County publicly thanks what he called “thousands of volunteers” who in his district within hours after 18 people died in the tornado.

“To go and serve their neighbors, pull photos and clothes out of debris, wash and fold clothes and do things we thought we would never see ourselves do–not because we would not do them, just because we never thought this tragedy would befall us,” said Rep. Ryan Williams just before a moment of silence on the Tennessee House floor last Thursday.

On Monday the lawmaker summed the tragedy for his county by saying “we need to love on our community long after the debris is gone”

Both lawmakers were in Nashville for the legislative session when the storm hit their districts.

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