SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Businesses hit by tornadoes on 41st Street in Sioux Falls are anxious to open back up. Cranes can be seen at several strip malls as crews work to repair or replace damaged rooftop heating and cooling units.
Brian Tull with Tull Companies is keeping his cranes busy this week as businesses call for help repairing their buildings from the top down.
“I think our community is pretty blessed that we didn’t have it worse than what we did,” Tull said.
The main issue — rooftop heating and cooling units. Roughly 12 blew over at the Western Mall including the one that services All Day Cafe according to General Manager Kelsey Anderson.
“Some of units decided to do some tumbling and the big issue was gas lines and electrical lines got all mangled and stuff like that up there,” Anderson said.
On the night of the tornadoes, people kept reporting gas leaks. Much of that smell in the air came from above.
“We’ve been doing a lot of rooftop work due to the rooftop units being damaged because of the high winds. A lot of the rooftop units are also heating units. So they have gas lines attached to them and such like that. So we’re pretty fortunate that we didn’t have any major fires in the area with the tornadoes,” Tull said.
Not only are Tull’s cranes helping out All Day Cafe, they’re at Plaza 41 clearing debris off the roof, making it safe for crews inside.
“And try and stabilize the roof. Get loose materials off so then they can get in and start doing the cleanup. There was rooftop units actually hanging from the bar joists,” Tull said.
All Day Cafe’s damage isn’t quite as extensive but it did cost the restaurant more than a week of business. Anderson is grateful he can open up again Friday.
“What easily could have been 6-8 weeks is really only turned out to have been 10 days now. That’s huge for us,” Anderson said.
Both Anderson and Tull don’t have a lot of experience with tornadoes…
“Well, you know we haven’t had a tornado inside the city limits for 30 years. I’m only 40-something,” Tull said.
And they hope they don’t see another for a long time.
All Day Cafe had to move all of its food to a refrigerated truck while they were closed. Last night, 35 employees showed up to prep all the food so they could be ready to open Friday.