Tornado narrowly misses Canadian country star Brett Kissel’s home in Nashville

NASHVILLE — Canadian country music star Brett Kissel says a tornado that tore through Nashville narrowly missed his condo, but left much of the surrounding neighbourhood in ruins.

Kissel, his wife and some friends watched the Edmonton Oilers beat the Nashville Predators in a National Hockey League matchup at Bridgestone Arena on Monday night, then went to a honky-tonk to enjoy some music.

“We had no idea anything was going on in any areas of Nashville, until we started to hear the sirens. They were so loud and so close that we could hear it over the music,” Kissel said in an interview.

“And we thought: that’s a little odd.”

Tornadoes that ripped across Tennessee early Tuesday shred at least 140 buildings and killed at least 22 people. A twister that hit a 16-kilometre stretch of downtown Nashville wrecked businesses and homes and destroyed the tower and stained glass of a historic church.

Kissel, who is from Flat Lake, Alta., has lived in the country music capital since 2012 but spends a lot of time in his home province, too.

Tennessee is no stranger to twisters and Kissel said he wasn’t alarmed until an emergency warning popped up on his phone saying it was not a drill and to take cover. The notification mentioned the tornado had touched down in the trendy Germantown neighbourhood, where Kissel lives.

Kissel and his wife started making their way toward home. The tornado had just torn through.

“Trees everywhere. There were overturned vehicles on the highway. There was a big semi on the interstate right by our place that was almost completely upside down.”

Buildings were levelled, including an auto-parts shop down the block.

“It was just toothpicks. I couldn’t believe it.”

The twister got so close to Kissel’s condo that cars in the parking lot had smashed windows. His unit had no power, but was otherwise fine.

Kissel was travelling to Alberta on Tuesday. On the way to the airport, he saw emergency crews along the highway, overturned vehicles and billboards signs snapped in half, he said.

“What this twister did to Nashville and did to everything in its path is unlike anything me or my wife has ever seen.”

Kissel said he heard The Basement, a music venue in East Nashville, was destroyed.

Kissel was among Canadian musicians living in Nashville who held a benefit there after the Fort McMurray wildfire in 2016 that destroyed 2,400 homes and buildings.

“Now The Basement has been levelled and it’s nothing more than just a pile of bricks,” he said. “It’s pretty crazy. I’m sure a lot of people are going to rally to do something for that venue in particular.”

Nashville Predators general manager David Poile, who was born in Toronto, said there was no damage to Bridgestone Arena. And as far as he knows, the storm didn’t affect any team employees or players directly.

“It’s really unfortunate. I’ve been in Nashville for 22 years. It’s called the ‘Volunteer State.’ I didn’t know what that meant when I got to Nashville,” he said from the NHL GM meetings in Florida.

“It’s a state where the people really support each other. This will be a huge undertaking by the whole community to get everything right and to help everybody.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 3, 2020

— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary, with files from Josh Clipperton in Boca Raton, Fla., and The Associated Press

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta confirms 28 new COVID-19 cases, 3 more deaths

There are 28 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, bringing the… Continue reading

Community garden plots are allowed to grow again

Community garden plots allowed to grow again A modified community garden plot… Continue reading

Rocky Mountain House RCMP seize guns, more than $14K in cash after curfew check

Rocky Mountain House RCMP came upon an expected seizure Wednesday. During a… Continue reading

Visitors should stay home this long weekend, say central Alberta’s resort communities

Social distancing and other virus prevention measures must override pleasure trips

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Red Deer businesses still serving

BY PAUL COWLEY ADVOCATE STAFF… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Alberta announces extra $1B to create jobs repairing roads, bridges, schools

Alberta announces extra $1B to create jobs repairing roads, bridges, schools

Alberta doctors file lawsuit against province over changes to billing

Alberta doctors file lawsuit against province over changes to billing

Leafs’ Matthews hoping to take care of ‘unfinished business’ if season resumes

Leafs’ Matthews hoping to take care of ‘unfinished business’ if season resumes

No ice, big problem: Nothing mimics skating for NHL players

No ice, big problem: Nothing mimics skating for NHL players

Oilers forward Cave remains in medically-induced coma at Toronto hospital

Oilers forward Cave remains in medically-induced coma at Toronto hospital

Most Read