ANDOVER, Kan. (KSNW) — In a news conference on Saturday afternoon, Andover Fire Chief Chad Russell provided more clarity regarding the preliminary EF-3 tornado that tore through Andover on Friday evening.
Russell said there are no outstanding rescues as of Saturday morning, and crews performed search and rescue on 176 heavily damaged structures.
There were also no new injuries and no reported fatalities.
“The injuries in Andover were all minor injuries, so they were treated and released,” Russell said. “We had four, and two of those were firefighters involved in the efforts last night, and everyone was stable.”
Russell was emotional when he recounted the injury total, as he said the situation could have been much worse.
“Well, I tell you, I’m going to try not to get emotional about that one,” Russell said, holding back tears. “It’s absolutely a miracle. I’ve been to a few of these, and to have the damage that we have in our community and not have deaths, is just a miracle.”
Russell also lauded the surrounding communities for their support, saying that even as the tornado was on the ground, trucks were headed toward Andover.
“Thank you so much for our neighbors,” Russell said as he asked news outlets to keep their live feeds on. “We’re a small community, and we could not have done the emergency response we did without our neighbors coming to help. The entire region came to help, so we thank them so much.”
Officials said that the number of structures that were damaged has increased to 1,076, up from 966 that they said on Friday evening. He stressed to residents of the area to watch their homes, as it is possible to have damage that might be unseen.
Russell also stressed the importance of staying away from the area while emergency crews still work, saying, “If you are not from here, please stay out of the city.”
If you are a tornado victim or want to help the tornado victims, you are asked to contact the United Way at 211. Click here for more.