The cleanup continues – and is still far from over – more than one week after a deadly tornado roared through parts of northeast Iowa. In Parkersburg, where nearly a third of the town was destroyed, Bob Cole is clearing huge piles of debris with the jaws of an excavator.
Cole said his crew was working on their fifth home and had at least 20 more to clear. Cole is accustomed to cleaning up mounds of carpeting, glass and insulation – but he’s still surprised with the level of destruction.
“It’s just unbelievable how far this stuff has traveled…some people say they don’t have any idea where this debris came from,” Cole said. Despite the large amount of work remaining, there are constant signs of progress. On Monday, Mitch Cashett’s company installed a new roof on the United Methodist Church in Parkersburg.
“There’s no shortage of stuff to be done right now,” Cashatt says, “it’s just trying to focus in on the people that even have a roof left.” Cashatt attends the church and says the new roof will take about three days to complete. It will take a lot longer than that for things to return to normal.
“My house is fine. I don’t even have a leaf missing off a tree, so I feel fortunate, but I also feel guilty because there are so many people that have lost so much,” Cashatt said. The May 25th tornado destroyed at least 220 homes in Parkersburg, which has a population of about 1,900.