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Commissioners to sign emergency declaration for areas hit by tornadoes

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Alex Ross Photo A piece of construction equipment shovels up debris from a mobile home at the 400 block of First Street in Dexter Wednesday that was destroyed by a tornado which ripped through Dexter Tuesday evening.

Will Cavin, chair of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners said Wednesday morning that he plans to sign a declaration of emergency for areas of Chaves County impacted by the tornado that barreled through Dexter and Hagerman Tuesday night.

The declaration that will be filed with the state will help provide aid to communities and residents impacted by the storm.

“A lot of people worry how we can recover from this and so when we get that declaration filed, we will start the ball on getting that taken care of,” Cavin said at a press conference at Dexter Elementary School that county first responders and officials have transformed into a temporary command post.

Chaves County Sheriff Mike Herrington said at the briefing that about five non-life threatening injuries had been reported as of 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Approximately 10 houses were destroyed in downtown Dexter along with various other structures.

Herrington added that about 115 cows had to be put down because of severe injuries sustained from flying debris.

Pieces of metal and other debris continue to present danger with winds of upwards of 75 miles per hour continuing to blow in Dexter.

Herrington urged nonresidents to stay out of Dexter Wednesday due to the danger of flying debris. He also said that residents whose homes were devastated by the tornadoes should not return to their homes today.

The New Mexico Chapter of the American Red Cross, with the support of Church on the Move, has established a temporary shelter at the Lindell Community Center at 501 East Argyle in Hagerman.