TUPELO, Miss.—Goodyear is assessing the damage from an April 1 tornado that tore through Tupelo and hit its Cooper Tire plant in the city.
The Akron-based tire maker confirmed that the facility had suffered damage and that its employees were safe, but declined to comment further given the sensitive nature of the situation.
"The Goodyear-Tupelo plant was impacted by a tornado early Saturday morning," the company said in a statement. "All associates are safe. Remediation efforts are under way as we evaluate the extent of the damage."
Local news reports indicate that the facility suffered "considerable damage," particularly to the roof. According to local newspaper, the (Northeast Mississippi) Daily Journal, at least 300 employees were working at the time the storm hit and plant officials worked to get everyone to safety.
Here's a look at photos of damage in south Tupelo this morning, including at the Cooper Tire plant. #mswx— Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (@DJournalnow) April 1, 2023
📸: Thomas Wells pic.twitter.com/bZlolnuINK
Tupelo city officials were not available immediately for comment regarding ongoing restorative efforts at the tire plant and across the city. The Daily Journal also indicates that commercial buildings were mostly impacted.
In a tweet late April 1, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker noted that he was assessing the damage caused by the storms and had met with city and county officials at the Cooper Tire facility.
I met with officials from Tupelo and Lee County at the Cooper Tire plant.— Senator Roger Wicker (@SenatorWicker) April 2, 2023
The site received significant wind damage. pic.twitter.com/p9FqG8hx2S
Goodyear's non-union Cooper Tire plant in Tupelo, opened in 1984, employs 1,400 workers, according to the latest Global Tire Report data. It is rated at a capacity of around 37,000 passenger tires per day.
At least seven states were impacted by the severe storms and subsequent tornadoes that swept across the country during the first weekend of April. The storms, according to the National Weather Service warning issued for Northern Mississippi April 1, were capable of producing EF-2 and stronger tornadoes.
The New York Times reports that communities in at least seven states suffered damage from tornadic winds. At least 32 people were killed, with fatalities reported in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
These storms came one week after seven tornadoes—including one EF-4 and two EF-3 funnels—touched down in Mississippi.