Severe weather in Sioux Falls set off the tornado sirens shortly after 2:00 p.m. It was about the time Tadd Danish's wife was heading home.
"When she left my work, she heard the sirens going off in Ellis. She got to Sioux Falls and heard the sirens going off as well, so I told her to go to the shelters that are in our mobile home park," Danish said.
His wife and the three kids ran to the closest storm shelter, but when their oldest son approached the door, he couldn't get in. The shelter was full.
"He looked in there and it was full and people had their full-sized pets in there. No room. There were people behind him trying to get in as well that had full-sized collies trying to get in this door to take shelter. No room," Danish said.
He says that for every pet that was in the shelter, two more people could've fit inside. Instead, they had to quickly find another place.
"From where we live, it's almost a mile away, too, and you just don't know what could happen in that mile with the hail storm. Quarter-sized hail, I just don't want my family on the road with that," Danish said.
There was no other choice. They got into the car and drove to the closest gas station hoping to get in, but the doors were locked and it was dark inside.
"So, she had to sit in her car underneath the cover of the gas station and I told her to keep watching to the west because that's where the storm was coming out of, and if you see something, try and drive the opposite way," Danish said.
His family stayed safe this time, but he doesn't want the search for safety to be a struggle. He says that he understands that to some families, pets are just like children, but when his children are in the line of danger, he wants priorities to be made.
"We have to be able to look out for our friends and family out there. That's all I have to say. It just broke my heart not to see that my family couldn't get in there and stay protected," Danish said.
He says that because of Thursday's lack of protection, their family will be looking for quicker and safer alternatives for shelter if they can't fit in the ones closest to their home.
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