SALEM, S.D. (KELO) — Many homeowners and businesses in central Salem are dealing with significant damage tonight.
Trees uprooted, windows shattered, sheds, grain bins and rooftops destroyed.
“It’s the same way it looks from here all the way to southwest of Bridgewater is the same kind of thing where the wind came together and really did some damager,” B.j Stiefvater, the McCook County Emergency manager said.
But so far, no serious injuries are reported in the county.
“I got hit on my head with a ceiling tile,” Salem nursing home resident Robert Snapper said. “The tile came down and hit me but I’m not hurt really.”
The Avantara nursing home in Salem had some of the worst damage. KELOLAND News spoke with one of the nursing home administrators who said the storm hit right as the kitchen staff were preparing to serve supper to residents. The kitchen suffered the worst damage where the entire roof over that section of the nursing home is now gone.
“When the story hit I was by the wall that was next to hit that got tore apart and it went boom. It sounded like a darn bomb hit,” Snapper said.
But all 30 residents are safe after nursing home staff brought them into the center of the building just before the storm hit, shattering windows and crumpling the ceiling. The residents were evacuated to the armory by bus and vans Thursday night. They are being moved to other nursing homes across the state for the night.
Clean-up is already underway at dozens of homes and businesses all over Salem.
“Within 30 to 45 minutes after it all hit our neighbor across the street came over and started chopping,” Salem resident Brandi Borman said.
Homeowners who live out of town had their own damage, but decided to drive into to Salem to help clear away the debris from city streets.
“We want to help no matter what,” Salem resident Jenni Heumiller said. “We’re just trying to get it off the street and make sure we keep the streets clean so people can go by…we know we’ve got a tree down there. We’ve got to keep going so we just do it for everybody.”
Those who couldn’t grab a chainsaw are still helping out. Cody Sauers, the owner of Fat Kid Fillys, started cooking food for everyone in his Salem neighborhood who was working to clean up debris over the dinner hour.
“It’s amazing; we are blessed to have the small town help,” Borman said.
Just down the street the Wies family was celebrating their son’s 7th birthday when the storm hit. Then the family of eight spent the rest of the evening working alongside their 83-year-old neighbor to clean up the debris on their block.
“Small town teamwork is awesome,” Borman said. “I don’t know all of these peoples names but its awesome that they all get together to help everyone in the town clean up. There’s a lot of cleaning up to do.”
Friday was supposed to be the last day of school for students in the McCook Central school district but due to the damage across town and some minor damage at the school, summer break came a day early for students in Salem.