Mother and 2-Year-Old Son Killed as She Clutched Him in Her Arms While Tornadoes Blasted Tennessee

Tennessee Tornadoes Kill Mother As She Clutched Her Toddler Son
A trailer park in Madison, Tenn., was flattened by severe tornadoes that blasted Tennessee.Getty

Deadly tornadoes blasted Tennessee, killing at least six people, including a toddler and a 10-year-old boy.

The bodies of a Tennessee mother, her arms still wrapped around her dead 2-year-old son, were found in the wreckage of a trailer park that was crushed by devastating tornadoes that ripped through the Nashville area.

Floriderma Perez, 31, and her son, Anthony, were found by neighbors searching the rubble of a Madison mobile home enclave after severe weather battered central Tennessee over the weekend.

At least six people were killed and more than 60 injured residents were hospitalized, authorities said. Several were in critical condition.

Massive winds lifted a mobile home and slammed it into the trailer where Perez lived, neighbors said. Joseph Dalton, 37, who lived in the mobile home that became airborne, was also killed. His 10-year-old son and the mother's older child, a 7-year-old boy, survived and were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at nearby hospitals, authorities said.

Neighbor Wanda McLemore told WTVF-TV that park residents frantically searched for survivors, hoping to hear the cries of missing children.

"We heard someone hollering for help, she said. "But the time we got out here, there were people already trying to get to them."

Emergency workers eventually found the bodies of Perez and her baby boy.

"They said they couldn't find her because she was holding him, trying to protect the baby," McClemore said, fighting to hold back tears.

In Clarksville, a city about 50 miles northwest of Nashville, another child and two adults were killed by fierce storms with winds of more than 150 mph.

Ten-year-old Arlan Burnham died after a cyclone ripped apart his home. His parents lost a son, their home and everything they owned.

"The road to recovery will be long and arduous, both emotionally and financially. The Burnham family is now faced with the overwhelming task of rebuilding their lives from scratch," read a post on a GoFundMe page established to help the Burnhams.

"As they navigate through the grief of losing a cherished family member, they also must contend with the daunting challenge of reconstructing their home and replacing the essentials that were lost in the tornado," the post added. As of Monday, the site had raised more than $125,000 for the devastated family.

Some 18,000 people remained without power Monday as emergency personnel worked to restore electricity and sifted through debris looking for survivors and the dead.

Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts declared a state of emergency Sunday and advised residents to avoid roads where downed power poles blocked traffic. He also established a 9 p.m. curfew.

“This is devastating news and our hearts are broken for the families of those who lost loved ones. The city stands ready to help them in their time of grief,” the mayor said.

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