Tornadoes ripped through downtown Nashville last Thursday, destroying a warehouse at Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. headquarters and damaging area hospitals in what's considered the cradle of the for-profit healthcare industry.
One tornado traveled over Columbia's corporate headquarters building and hit Centennial Park, located just across the street. A Columbia warehouse and several employees' cars were damaged. "Part of the warehouse roof is gone, and two of the ends of the building are gone," said Jeff Prescott, a Columbia spokesman. "Debris and paper are scattered all over the place."
Financial damage estimates were not available. Prescott didn't know what was in the warehouse.
Columbia's 680-bed Centennial Medical Center and Parthenon Pavilion, located close to the headquarters, suffered minor damage. Roof tiles were torn off its child-care center, windows were blown out, and trees were uprooted. The damage looked worse than it actually was, said Virginia Crowe, a spokeswoman for the hospital.
At 649-bed Baptist Hospital, about two blocks west of Centennial Park, windows were shattered and concrete was ripped off the hospital's physical plant building. The hospital had problems dialing outside phone numbers, although it was able to receive incoming calls.
"There was some minor damage around the perimeter of the campus," said Eileen Hennessy, public relations director at Baptist. "Some external decorative concrete was blown around. That was about it, thankfully."
Meanwhile, the storms disrupted the plans of about 2,700 attendees at the VHA hospital alliance's three-day annual leadership conference at the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center, about seven miles from downtown Nashville.
A brief power outage halted afternoon sessions, and VHA canceled its downtown entertainment events for the evening. Instead, country music singer Glenn Campbell, scheduled to entertain physicians and VHA hospital executives off-site, agreed to move his show to the hotel. He sang to the assembled crowd until late in the evening.