Reported tornado damages, destroys several buildings in Knox County city; residents say tornado siren did not go off

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BARING, Mo. – Fourteen people were rescued from damaged and destroyed homes in Baring overnight after emergency personnel were called to this tiny city in northern Knox County at approximately 11:30 p.m. Friday for a reported tornado.

Residents reported the Baring tornado siren did not go off, and emergency personnel reported weather radios did not give any tornado or severe weather warnings just before the storm.

The population of Baring is roughly 124. 

Only minor injuries have been reported. Several residents of the Baring Senior Housing site were assisted in getting out of their damaged homes, along with residents living in houses in the area northeast of the train track crossing. Displaced residents and those with injuries were taken to the Knox County Community Center immediately after the disaster.

The Baring Post Office building was destroyed. Part of the roof of the Baring Firehouse was torn off. The roof of the Baring Cafe was torn off. Damage to vehicles and large items like shipping containers and feeders is spread throughout the town.

Power poles/lines and tree limbs in roads are making it a challenge for the emergency response teams.

Knox County Emergency Management Director Bill Whiles said emergency personnel also responded to several hazardous materials leaks from tanks full of anhydrous ammonia and propane in the damaged area.

A trailer was removed from the train tracks at approximately 3 a.m. by Lakeside Towing.

Knox County Sheriff Carl Knoche said power to the town of Baring was turned off during the emergency response. Edina Police Chief Ryan Bishop said a Red Cross Disaster Response team was at the Edina Christian Church at 9 a.m. Saturday to assist displaced residents with emergency needs.

Emergency response was provided by:

  • ambulances from Knox County, Salt River (Shelby County) and Scotland County; 
  • law enforcement from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Edina Police Department, Scotland County Sheriff’s Office and Lewis County Sheriff’s Office;
  • volunteer firefighters from Baring, Edina, Novelty/Plevna, Newark, Knox City, Hurdland, Rutledge, Gorin and the Knox County Rescue Squad; 
  • emergency transportation from the Knox County Nursing Home (wheelchair lift van) and the Knox County R-1 School District (school busses); 
  • medical personnel from the NEMO Health Council Clinic in Edina, including Beth Schrage and her team of nursing staff; 
  • Knox County Emergency Management Director Bill Whiles.

Echo Menges is the editor of the Edina Sentinel in Edina, Mo.

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