Dozens of law enforcement officials from several agencies swarmed the area, as well as other relief workers. A Krystal fast food restaurant in town served meals to rescuers as well as residents struggling to recover.
Daiki plant manager Wes Stephenson said Thursday that the facility would likely have to at least temporarily lay off most of its 90 employees. The storm knocked out most of its manufacturing capability, but there are some sections of the plant still standing where employees could do some finishing work. Stephenson said he hoped to keep a skeleton crew to do that finishing work until the rest of the plant could be repaired, which would likely take at least several months.
Rodey Kirby, a production worker, was among those who didn't know if he'd still have a job in the coming days. He was working Wednesday when the lights started flickering, and Stephenson told him and others to run. They took cover in a restroom, and Kirby and two colleagues kneeled and started praying. He heard the unmistakable roar of a tornado; he looked up and saw the ceiling tiles vanish.
"I'd see daylight and no daylight; daylight and no daylight. And then it seemed like it took forever, but then it was over," Kirby said."I looked around and everybody was there. And I'm glad (God) heard our prayers because that's the only thing I could do with it, just hold on and pray." ___ Associated Press writers Phillip Lucas in Atlanta and Matthew Barakat in Laurel, Md., contributed to this report.