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Destruction In Lane

June 19, 2014, 5:50 PM by Brittany Larson

Destruction In Lane
LANE, SD -

“How am I going to clean it all up? It's almost overwhelming," Resident of Lane, South Dakota, Ronny Kopfmann said.

Ronny and Linda Kopfmann have spent 42 years building memories on this farm. Now, they will have to rebuild again starting from the ground up.

"I seen the storm coming in from the south and the wife and I were both down in the basement and it was just like an atomic bomb went off," Ronny Kopfmann said

The structure of their home was ripped off its foundation and you can still see where Ronny and Linda took cover from the storm.

"Right down in there, right next to the freezer and I believe that post is what hit me in the head. It was awful, really loud," Linda Kopfmann said.

They heard cracking and popping from the storm, but nothing could prepare them for what they would see after the tornado left its trail of destruction.

"I still can't comprehend how everything looks," Ronny Kopfmann said.

The Kopfmanns lost everything, including their family pet. The tornado smashed cars into tree trunks and tossed large trucks and tractors onto their sides. It knocked down several trees and even pulled some up from the roots.

"It took two, to two and half minutes to destroy everything," Kopfmann said.

"Those people that lost their houses; that's beyond imaginable," Bruce Kogel said.

Kogel lives just a few miles away from the Kopfmann farm. The tornado destroyed his 4th generation barn, but he still considers himself very lucky.

"The brunt of the storm came through. The house was just far enough away that it missed it. Had the storm been moved over 600 feet, we probably wouldn't have a house left," Kogel said.

Kogel's house was untouched but his neighbor's is unrecognizable. While life won't be the same for the Kopfmanns anymore, they still were able to find comfort from their loved ones.

"You can always replace stuff but you can't replace life. It's a miracle the wife and I made it," Ronny Kopfmann said.

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