Tornado Hits Blountstown Including Prison

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A tornado with winds the National Weather Service estimates reached up to 120 miles per hour did some damage in Blountstown.

A prison, a couple of private businesses and several vehicles were hit.

A smashed up pick up truck was removed from the Calhoun Correctional Institution parking lot.

It was one of several damaged vehicles towed away from the lot.

The tornado also damaged the prison's perimeter fence.

There was debris scattered near the prison property where a couple of buildings were also damaged.

But right across the street, the only problem for Wanda Clark's home was a several hour power outage.

"No damage here, I was just glad to come home to a safe home," Clark said.

When the storm hit at about 4 in the morning, Clark was in the middle of her shift at the Liberty County Jail in Bristol.

Her 23 year old daughter was watching her 12 year old son and 2 year old daughter at their home across the street from the prison.

Power crews were busy trimming trees and fixing lines Monday morning across the street from the prison in the aftermath of the tornado.

Clark used to work at the prison.

Two employees arriving for work suffered minor injuries in the parking lot.

But none of the roughly 1400 inmates were hurt.

"You just do the protocol, you know you go check all the areas out and make sure all the inmates are taken care of," Clark said.

Not far from the prison, a former shipyard serving as a storage facility had several buildings suffer major damages and a ship was flipped upside down.

A salvage yard also had damages including a trailer flipped on its side.

"We're just glad it didn't tear up everything in the neighborhood," Clark said.

Members of one family fled their mobile home only to have a close encounter with the tornado in their pick up truck.

They say after flying debris hit their vehicle near the prison, they turned around and fled in the other direction.

They were too shaken to speak to Eyewitness News on camera.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
November 17, 2014

BLOUNTSTOWN, Fla. -- The Calhoun County Sheriff's Office says that two Calhoun Correctional Institute employees were injured as a possible tornado passed through early this morning.

CCSO says that around 4 a.m. two employees reporting for work were injured in the parking lot, however, neither sustained serious injuries.

The Calhoun Correctional Institute sustained damage to the warehouse, the PRIDE building and the perimeter fence.

A plan is in place to have the perimeter fence repaired today.

Several Department of Correction vehicles and personal vehicles were also damaged.

Sheriff's Office officials say that the prison is under Restricted Movement until further notice.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Highway Patrol and the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office are on hand to assist the Calhoun Correctional Institute.

News Release: Associated Press
November 17, 2014

BLOUNTSTOWN, Fla. (AP) -- Two people received minor injuries and a number of vehicles were damaged when an apparent tornado touched down at a state prison near Blountstown in Florida's Panhandle.

Calhoun County Sheriff Glenn Kimbrel says two workers arriving for their shifts at the Calhoun Correctional Institution were injured when the storm struck early Monday around 4 a.m. CST.

Kimbrel says between 25 and 30 vehicles were damaged in the parking lot and some of the fencing around the prison's perimeter was knocked down. He says no one escaped from the facility, which has a maximum capacity of 1,354 inmates.

A number of sheriff's deputies and correctional officers are on the scene. Kimbrel says the Florida Highway Patrol is also assisting.

He says there were no other reports of injury or damage in the area.

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