PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (LEX 18) – The Prestonsburg Mayor confirms one person was killed after a storm blew the roof off a building downtown Wednesday afternoon.
It happened at a business on Arnold Avenue and Court Street. The roof was blown off the Hock Shop during a severe thunderstorm and four cars were trapped under the rubble.
“It happened so quick I never would have thought there’d be that much damage,” said Burke Franklin, who watched from the law office across the street.
An individual in one of those cars was killed while driving through the area. He was identified by Prestonsburg Police as 62-year-old Michael Coleman of Pikeville.
A passenger in his car was uninjured.
“The man’s fiance crawled herself out of the truck and we brought her into the office,” said Sarah Lange Hyden, who works in the area. “She looked really lucky. She didn’t have a scratch on her. She was obviously devastated. I think she said they were getting married this weekend, so it was really so horrible.”
City officials say people ran out from businesses to try to help but once EMS arrived and determined the severity of the situation, everyone was asked to clear the scene.
“We managed to get the windows broke. We checked on the individual. He was obviously deceased. At that point, we secured the scene,” said Lt. Celina Thomas with the Prestonsburg Fire Department.
The National Weather Service said the storm that caused damage in Prestonsburg Wednesday was ruled a downburst with peak winds at 70 miles per hour.
At one point, nearly 800 homes were without power because of the storm damage, according to Mayor Les Stapleton.
Court Street will remain closed until engineers can fully assess the damage done by the storm. City officials are concerned about more inclement weather causing the brick facade to collapse.
Prestonsburg Police announced a traffic pattern change for the area late Wednesday night.