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Tornado hits Baxter Springs

4/27/2014

Special to The Hays Daily News

A tornado struck the community of Baxter Springs in Cherokee County at approximately 5:46 p.m. Sunday.

Jason Allison, Cherokee County emergency manager, reported the tornado was estimated to be three blocks wide, running southwest to northeast. Sixty to 70 homes and 20 to 25 businesses are reported destroyed.

Search and rescue efforts are underway.

Gov. Sam Brownback gave approval for a State of Disaster Emergency proclamation at 6:30 p.m. The State Emergency Operations Center in Topeka was partially activated at 6:50 p.m. to coordinate the response of state agencies. Personnel from the Kansas Division of Emergency Management are in contact with Cherokee County emergency management officials to respond to requests for assistance.

Both the Northeast and Southeast Region Incident Management Teams are mobilizing to go to Baxter Springs and assist local authorities.

In Hammond, 5 miles north of Fort Scott in Bourbon County, a grain elevator was blown over onto a rail line, derailing eight train cars.

Six homes also were damaged, but no state assistance has been requested.