GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. (CBS Chicago/CBS News) — A local American Red Cross worker arrived in Gilbertsville, Kentucky late Monday to help the victims of devastating tornadoes that barreled through last week.
Holly Baker of the American Red Cross of Illinois said despite the devastation, she was immediately struck by signs of hope in the hard-hit community.READ MORE: Bears Hire Colts Defensive Coordinator Matt Eberflus As New Head Coach
“I can already see that this community is pulling together – you know, they have signs up saying ‘Kentucky Strong,’” Baker said. “I’m here to help them deal with the effects of this and try to help them heal. It’ll take a long time. We’re here to provide what we can, bring them comfort, bring them hope, and hopefully make tomorrow just a little bit brighter.”
The search continued Monday for survivors of the Friday night tornado outbreak.
The devastation spans six states – with homes and businesses reduced to rubble and thousands without heat, water or electricity as temperatures are expected to dip below freezing by the end of the week.READ MORE: Pair Charged In Murder Of 8-Year-Old Melissa Ortega Denied Bail; Accused Teen Gunman Committed Three Previous Carjackings, Prosecutors Say
Then victims ranged from 2 months to 86 years old. Most of the known victims were working the late shift at a candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, or at an Amazon warehouse in downstate Edwardsville, Illinois.
The massive tornado – which had winds as strong as a Category 5 hurricane – touched down in central Arkansas and remained on the ground for more than 200 miles as it destroyed everything in its path.
The death toll as of Monday night stood at 88 – of whom 74 were from Kentucky alone. More than 100 people are still missing and feared dead.
The youngest known victim of Friday’s tornado outbreak is 2-month-old Oaklynn Koon. The baby’s family sheltered inside a bathroom as the tornado ripped through Dawson Springs, Kentucky.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather Alert: Winter Storm Watch On The Way
The baby was hospitalized after the tornado flung her into a neighbor’s yard while she was strapped in the carseat her parents thought would keep her safe.