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Soldiers, Families Sift Through Tornado Damage at Fort Leonard Wood

Severe weather strikes 70 homes

Ft. Wood moves those affected to new units, hotels

January 02, 2011|Jonah Kaplan | Reporter

Ft. Leonard Wood, MO — The new year of 2011 has arrived but the horrors of 2010's waning days continue to haunt those affected by mother nature's devastation.

At Fort Leonard Wood, units of soldiers and families today continued to sift through the damage of friday's tornado.  

And for an army that normally trains to engage in conflicts abroad, this mission is solely within its borders.

"We had heard rumblings, we had heard the thunder - kind of like the roar of the train," said Lt. Philip Scott, standing in front of the rubble that was once his house.

For Scott, the storm was a different roar than those of cannons and tanks.  And there was only so much he could do to protect his loved ones.

"[We] had each other in the corner, that's when all the windows broke in the house, our bedrooms ripped off and our puppy ran straight after the tornado."

The National Weather Service confirms that an EF 3 tornado tore through several miles of Fort Leonard Wood just before 9am New Year's Eve morning.  Fort Wood's top brass says the twister ripped up military training areas, crippled a section of utility systems and upended some 70 homes like that of Lt. Scott.

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"We found our dishwasher and dishes way down the street," adds Michelle Scott, Philip's wife.  "It's a very bizarre concept."

Sgt. Howard Reed of Fort Wood's public affairs office says those families have all been secured new housing units on base or comprable hotel accomodations until new options are available.  And in all cases, he says, the response has been swift.

"I got [on scene] about an hour and 45 mins later and it was amazing the mobile command post was already set up.  You had all the local fire departments and search and rescue teams here."

Those teams found no fatalities and treated a mere four injuries - a small miracle for a tornado's track that raced four miles long and as wide as five football fields.

"We remember what really matters in life," says Scott.  "If you're loved ones are safe you have each other then all of these material things can be replaced.

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