Nashville Tornado Rescue

Bill Wallace, of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., reaches out to rescue workers who freed him from his home that collapsed on him and his wife after Tuesday morning's tornado in the Nashville area.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) β€” Tornadoes ripped across Tennessee early Tuesday, shredding at least 40 buildings and killing at least 19 people. One of the twisters caused severe damage across downtown Nashville, destroying the stained glass in a historic church and leaving hundreds of people homeless.

Daybreak revealed a landscape littered with blown-down walls and roofs, snapped power lines and huge broken trees, leaving city streets in gridlock. Schools, courts, transit lines, an airport and the state Capitol were closed, and some damaged polling stations had to be moved only hours before Super Tuesday voting began.

The death toll jumped to 19 on Tuesday, Tennessee Emergency Management Spokeswoman Maggie Hannan said, after police and fire crews spent hours pulling survivors and bodies from wrecked buildings.

β€œLast night was a reminder about how fragile life is,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper said at a Tuesday morning news conference.

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