WI begins cleanup

Residents continued cleaning up debris and picking up scattered belongings after tornadoes ripped through the state.

BY HEATHER MOYER | WAUPUN, Wisc. | June 25, 2004

Residents continued cleaning up debris and picking up scattered belongings after tornadoes ripped through the state Wednesday night.

In Waupun, emergency crews spent all day Thursday clearing debris that was blocking roads. Two homes were destroyed and more than 25 homes suffered major damage in the Dodge County town.

"Until you see it, you just don't realize how bad it really is," said Laura Krueger, secretary for Pella Lutheran Church in Waupun. "All the homes across the street from our church are badly damaged. Down from our church some homes have the roofs off and the garages are collapsed."

Krueger said many of the church's parishioners were affected, and so was the church. Some shingles were ripped off and a few trees are down around the property. "But that's very minimal compared to others," she said.

Seven F1 tornadoes and one F0 tornado touched down across the state Wednesday night, killing one person and injuring 19 others. Hundreds of homes were damaged. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle declared a state of emergency in 10 counties yesterday, some of which had already been recovering from flood damage due to heavy spring rains.

Northeast Wisconsin's Outagamie County suffered significant damages, according to a county emergency management official. "Our preliminary estimate is that the tornado caused $5.9 million in damages," said Robert Olson, safety coordinator for Outagamie County Emergency Management. "It left a path of destruction three miles long and up to a half-mile wide in some parts."

According to Olson, preliminary estimates show 27 homes damaged, with the worst hit areas being the cities of Kaukauna and Little Chute.

In Green Lake County, a twister killed one man and severely injured his wife. Another seriously affected county is Adams, where a tornado pummeled a trailer park and several other homes in its nine-mile path. In Fond Du Lac County, two homes were destroyed and another 45 homes suffered minor and major damages around the town of Alto.

Campers at a campground in Monroe County ran for their lives when a twister touched down late Wednesday. Six people were injured.

Other affected counties are Waupaca, Portage, Jackson, and Dane. Damage assessments are continuing today as residents work together to pick up the pieces.

"It's amazing how people really band together," said Krueger. "Groups from communities all around us are helping. That's got to be the good that comes out of this."

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