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Tornadoes Hit Trucking Facilities in South

Several trucking facilities across the South were damaged by this week’s tornadoes.

A US Foods Division distribution center southeast of Jackson, Mississippi, was badly damaged in the series of tornados that swept through the region in recent days.

The center is in an industrial park area near the towns of Pearl and Richland, where several of the nation’s largest fleets and their suppliers have facilities.

The site was hit by a tornado April 28 and sustained severe damage, company spokeswoman Lisa Lecas said.

“Our employees are safe, and we are in the process of reassigning our customers’ business to other US Foods locations so that we can continue to support and service our Jackson area customers,” she said.

FedEx Corp. said it has five facilities in the Pearl-Richland area just south of Interstate 20 where US Foods is located, but its facilities were undamaged.

The same is true for Southern States Utility Trailer Sales, which said its facility was not damaged but that some nearby were leveled.

A Richland facility of Fleet Pride, a heavy-duty truck and trailer parts supplier, was leveled, said Gerald Turner, a salesman in the company’s office in Mobile, Alabama.

“All their calls have been rerouted to Mobile because the building has been blown away,” Turner said. “That building is a total loss. They’re trying to clean up and salvage what little bit they can. They’ve been trying to figure out what they’re going to do.”

Steve Boudreaux, safety director at Mississippi Trucking Association, said of the tornado strength, “The one where all of the trucking companies were was an EF3.”

EF3 tornados are categorized by the American Meteorological Society as severe with winds over 150 mph.

The twister was one in a series that blew through six states this past week, killing at least 34 people.

Boudreaux said the path of the storms was so random that they completely destroyed some buildings and missed others nearby.

Con-Way Freight said its facility in Richland sustained minor damage.

By Michele Fuetsch and Eric Miller
Staff Reporters

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