CASTLEWOOD, S.D. (KELO) — Officials in Castlewood are monitoring who can come into town as residents continue to clean up from Thursday night’s tornado damage.
David Johnson shared a video of the tornado moving through town with KELOLAND News.
“I walked out of my apartment and I saw what I saw and I mean, it was crazy. I mean, I didn’t realize that I had caught what tore up Castlewood until a couple hours later,” Johnson said.
That tornado was classified as an EF 2 with 120 miles per hour winds that damaged a school, homes and businesses in its path.
Last night’s tornado was unlike anything people in Castlewood had seen before. It happened so fast that Dwayne Sonen and his wife couldn’t make it to the basement. Instead, they were by this recliner, which might be what saved them.
“We lost the wall in the south side in the basement, if we would’ve made it to the basement, we probably would’ve been killed,” Dwayne Sonen said.
The house next door was getting an upgrade, but now the windows are broken and the roof is gone.
“We just got done remodeling and one piece of siding away before the tornado hit. So basically we’re going to start over,” Shane Mack said.
Everyone in these two houses got out safely and though there were some injuries in town, nothing major was reported.
“We have a saying today, 2×4’s don’t bleed so. We can rebuild,” Mack said.
As for the school in Castlewood, with the windows boarded up and part of the roof caved in, it’s unclear what will happen for the last eight days of classes. The school board will be meeting tomorrow to make that decision.
“Most people think school is like a prison and stuff, it’s like very bad and I even say that sometimes, but seeing it torn down like this is really sad and all the memories that happened in this place. It’s sad,” Brielle Tesch, a 7th grader said.
There are uncertainties ahead for Castlewood…
“Whether we rebuild or move or whatever, I have no idea at this point,” Sonen said.
But the tornado brought out the strength of this small town.
“You wake up and you think, okay, it’s time to start picking up the pieces, here we go. We’re going to move forward and we’ll be alright,” Castlewood Mayor Brian Ries said.
Ries says people from all over have reached out to help and send donations of food, water and even clothing for people who have lost their homes.