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Big GE plant fire, flooding sock Louisville

Storms hit elsewhere in Ky., where a woman and child were missing, and in other states.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - More than 200 firefighters battled to control a massive blaze that erupted at General Electric's Appliance Park in Louisville on Friday as the region also had to cope with flooding from severe storms.

Mayor Greg Fischer told reporters at a morning news conference that the city was coping with both disasters.

The six-alarm fire started in a non-production building, sending dense, black smoke into the sky.

In an e-mail to reporters, GE spokeswoman Kim Freeman said the fire was contained to a building used for offices and storage and used by a private supplier distribution center.

"The fire is contained to Building 6 at this time," she said.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the flooding, a mother and child remained missing Friday, hours after they were swept into a flooded creek in eastern Kentucky, as torrential rains swamped portions of the state and forced emergency crews to make more than 160 rescues further west in Louisville.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Robert Purdy said the two were stranded in their vehicle in high water around 9:30 a.m. Friday on a rural highway in Lee County, near the Estill County line.

Local authorities could see them in the vehicle and attempted a water rescue, Purdy said. But around 11:30 a.m., the rushing water swept them away, and rescue workers lost sight of them.

As rain pushed through parts of the South and Midwest, severe thunderstorms were also blamed for the death of a woman who was camping with her family at Natural Bridge State Resort Park in eastern Kentucky.

Meanwhile, thousands of people in south-central Kansas lost power as winds that reached nearly 90 m.p.h. downed trees and damaged buildings overnight and early Friday.

In Powell County, Ky., Catherine Carlson, 45, was killed and her husband was injured when a large tree limb fell on their tent, Coroner Hondo Hearne said. Their three children did not appear to be injured, he said.

The campground where the family was staying was evacuated due to flash flooding, said Gil Lawson, a spokesman for the state Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.

In Kansas, no deaths were reported, but six people were injured in a severe thunderstorm, emergency management officials said. Several buildings were damaged in Newton, and the Jabara Airport in Wichita was closed Friday morning because of storm debris on the airfield.

In Oklahoma, the National Weather Service planned to send a survey team to Ottawa County to investigate reports of a tornado touchdown.