KNOXVILLE - Twenty-seven people are staying at a Red Cross shelter following Wednesday night's storm which destroyed the roof of their residential facility.
Positively Living, a nonprofit in East Knoxville that serves those struggling with HIV/AIDS, homelessness, mental illness, addiction or disabilities, had the top of its roof blown off during the storm.
"Everyone was immediately evacuated, most of which left without any supplies, medication, clothing," said Matt McAdoo, COO of Positively Living.
McAdoo said the wind peeled back the roof's protective layer and the rain that followed soaked through both levels of the complex.
"They're working on removing it to make sure any of the mechanical equipment on the roof is safe and then they're going to tarp the roof to prevent any further water damage from occurring," said McAdoo.
No one was hurt while evacuating, though some of the residents said they woke up because of soaked ceiling tiles falling on top of them.
"They've all been telling stories, saying either someone was banging on their door to wake them up, or they heard strong winds and even something fallen on top of them while they slept," said Louie Keeling, the Red Cross shelter director.
Keeling said the hope is to get the 27 residents into a more permanent living space, but the shelter will remain open for as long as necessary.
"We have a great team who is in contact with their client/patients. We're arranging now for an alternate place to deliver those services. Beyond that, we're making sure those who are residents here are taken care of by having alternate housing while assessing the damage and determining how long it will be before they can return here," said McAdoo.
There is not an exact estimate for when the building will be back open. McAdoo said they have insurance and he hopes to be back in business "very soon" and is "grateful" for how this day is going.
"At the end of the day, we had a storm that could've caused a threat of bodily harm or loss of life and none of that happened," said McAdoo.
Also in East Knoxville, a number of trees fell on homes on Castle Street, Yellowstone Road and Beaman Lake Road. No injuries were reported.
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