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No fatalities after tornado hits Mayfield nursing home

A resident room at Mayfield Health and Rehabilitation, in the aftermath of deadly Friday tornadoes in Kentucky.  The facility was totaled but there were no fatalities there.
A resident room at Mayfield Health and Rehabilitation, in the aftermath of deadly Friday tornadoes in Kentucky. The facility was totaled but there were no fatalities there.

All residents and employees who were at a Mayfield nursing home in the path of Friday’s tornado survived the complete destruction of the building. Management says it’s both a miracle and testament to staff’s quick action. 

Staff at Mayfield Health and Rehabilitation had about 30 minutes between the warning and the tornado that slammed into the one-story building on Indiana Avenue just before 10 p.m. central time. 

Mick Vujanović, chief operating officer at the ClearView Healthcare Management, the facility’s parent company, said staff quickly followed plans to move the 74 residents to safety. 

 “What’s miraculous is, if you see photos of the building, the building was completely leveled, completely destroyed,”Vujanović said. “There are ceilings that have collapsed in resident rooms, and hallways. There are pictures of beds with bricks scattered on top of them where probably 30 minutes previously, the residents had been sleeping in those beds.”

As soon as the storm passed,Vujanović said staff switched to recovery mode. Staff from the regional area including Louisville came to help pull residents from the wreckage, traveling by bus over streets covered with debris into a city with no lights and no power. 

“It was a monumental task,” Vujanović said. 

And in the morning local staff – many of whom had suffered great personal loss – were back to help. 

“There were staff members that had lost family members 12 hours earlier that were trying to secure the belongings of the residents they had cared for,” Vujanović said. “It is remarkable the kind of dedication health care people have.”

He said the company is working to provide direct resources to the roughly 80 staff members of the now-devastated facility. They will be guaranteed shifts through the holidays, and ClearView intends to keep each staff member on at nearby sister facilities after that. 

“I want to take care of everybody that was part of the Mayfield community,” he said. “And we will find a place for every one of them.”

Aprile is WFPL's health reporter. Rickert comes to WFPL from the News and Tribune in Southern Indiana, where she covered crime and courts as a senior reporter. A New Albany native, she spent nearly two decades in Louisville before recently moving back across the river to Jeffersonville.
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