Mom from NJ Among 24 Killed by Tornadoes in Tennessee
A woman who grew up in Jackson and still has family in New Jersey was one of 24 people killed by the tornadoes that ripped through Tennessee early Tuesday morning.
Jamie Smith, 36, a graduate of Jackson Memorial High School, lived in Cookeville, Tennessee, near Nashville.
Twisters struck midnight and shredded more than 140 buildings. The storms moved so quickly that many people in their path could not flee to safer areas and were buried in rubble.
Her brother, Joseph Loff, who lives in Freehold Township, told the Townsquare News Network that her 8-year old son Logan was with his father, Russ Smith, when the tornado struck. Neither was harmed.
Joseph said his sister sister moved to Tennessee when their parents retired there over 10 years ago. She owned an office cleaning company called Dependable Cleaning.
Jamie made a return trip to New Jersey last summer.
"She liked going to the beach" and visiting family, Joseph said.
Joseph described his sister as an "upbeat person" who would do anything for anyone.
One twister wrecked homes and businesses across a 10-mile stretch of Nashville that included parts of downtown. It smashed more than three dozen buildings, including destroying the tower and stained glass of a historic church.
Another tornado damaged more than 100 structures along a 2-mile path of destruction in Putnam County, wiping some homes from their foundations and depositing the wreckage far away.
Daybreak after the tornados struck revealed landscapes littered with blown-down walls and roofs, snapped power lines and huge broken trees, making many city streets and rural roads impassable. More than a dozen polling stations were also damaged, forcing Super Tuesday voters to wait in long lines at alternative sites.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.