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Cleanup continues after damaging storm in Paintsville

Photo shows the steeple for the First Baptist Church in Paintsville that was torn off Wednesday by high winds.(WCHS/WVAH)

Transformers exploded and trees snapped, all no match for the hurricane-like storm that tore parts of Paintsville, Ky., apart on Independence Day.

Emergency and power crews jumped into the fray to mitigate or repair the citywide damage including a church steeple torn off the roof of the First Baptist Church.

“Somebody hollered out from inside the church, you know, the steeple is gone,” Seth Carter, the church’s pastor, said. “At that point, it was running around like chickens with our heads cut off.”

Carter said the steeple couldn’t have fallen in a better place.

It didn’t damage the sanctuary or the delicate flowers, instead, landing right in the middle where nothing could be damaged.

Carter said, despite the extensive damage to the steeple, they are not asking for help from the public.

On the contrary, they have been trying to find ways to reach out to others who have been damaged.

“How we can be a help to other,” Carter said.

There has been no lack of need.

Windows were shattered, trees knocked down, the entire roof of an optometrist’s office was blown off and scattered into nearby yards and homes.

Ninety percent of the town lost power.

The National Weather Service called the storm a microburst with wind speeds peaking at 80 mph.

“We’re just going to keep pushing along,” Carter said.

The pastor said the have already contacted an insurance company and a steeple company for a replacement.

All they have asked for is that people send them prayers, and join them to worship this Sunday.

“Staying on the mission that God has given us, and not letting things like this deter us,” Carter said.

Kentucky American Electric Power restored service to everyone in Paintsville by Thursday evening.

No one was injured by the storm.

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