EF-1 tornado tears roof off of Harrodsburg YMCA

Posted at 4:31 PM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 18:34:20-05

HARRODSBURG, Ky. (LEX 18) — Mercer County’s new Judge/Executive, Sarah Steele didn’t need very long to learn her job description can differ from day to day.

“We went straight into action making sure those babies were safe. Got to ride a school bus with a lot of little ones today,” Judge Steele explained.

The YMCA building near her office was damaged in Thursday’s storm, which was officially ruled an EF-1 tornado, which touched down just a few miles north of the downtown area. Children, toddlers, and infants as young as 6 months old had to be evacuated quickly.

“Oh it was crazy,” said YMCA security director, Bo Yeast. “That wind was blowing so hard and they were all really scared. But everybody made it out alright,” he continued.

Mr. Yeast said he went in to inspect the building and didn’t notice any damage, or water issues. But a determination on whether or not the integrity of the roof was compromised will have to be made by the experts in that area.

“With any child care facility, we have to make sure it’s safe for them to re-enter the building. We’re hoping, potentially the gymnasium can be sealed off and there can be use of the rest of the building,” Judge Steele said.

Parents, she said, will be given updates on the building’s status through their text message service with the YMCA. With Monday’s holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the hope is these families will only be inconvenienced on Friday.

What truly matters is that no one was injured, and the kids were taken safely to Mercer County High School where they were picked up by parents, or guardians. All thanks to a Judge/Executive, some members of the county PVA office, and a host of others.

“Everybody had at least two babies or two small, maybe 2-year-olds, or 3-year-olds that they were coddling on the bus. It was a neat experience to see our community come together. I’m a mother too, so I would hope others would do that for my kids,” Steele added.