Lenoir City remembers tornado 20 years later


wbir.com-Thursday marked 20 years since a series of destructive tornadoes ripped through East Tennessee.

One of the hardest hit communities was Lenoir City. A resident named Martha Heffner died in the storms. Multiple buildings and businesses were destroyed resulting in damages more than $2 million.

Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider held the same position 20 years ago. He said he remembered it being a humid Sunday afternoon when the storm hit.

"We didn't have a lot of light to work with," he said.

Guider said crews from across the state helped in the rescue and cleanup effort. He said they found debris everywhere.

"Days and weeks later, several miles away," Guider said.

The hardest hit areas were the intersection of US-321 and US-11 and the neighborhoods north, around Kingston Street.

Michael Lewis lives where most of the damage occurred. He said his house sustained damage to its roof.

"That's the first tornado we ever had in Lenoir City, that I know of," Lewis said.

Terry Holder remembered the day clearly too.

He said he and his wife were cut-off from getting to their children at church because of all the debris. Holder said they eventually had to walk two miles to get to them.

"It was very frightening," he said.