Life Lost At Car Dealership Hit By Muscatine Storm - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Life Lost At Car Dealership Hit By Muscatine Storm

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Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (left) joins Doug Krieger to look at the damage inside the collision center. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (left) joins Doug Krieger to look at the damage inside the collision center.
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More damage reports are coming in from a suspected tornado touchdown on Monday, June 24, 2013. From barns in rural areas to homes and businesses in town, the impact appears to be more widespread than first thought. The worst of it appears to be in Muscatine, where there is not only damage, but the loss of a life. An employee at Krieger's Collision Repair Center was hurt when the storm ripped the building apart. He later died in the hospital.

The National Weather Service is surveying the damage and hasn't confirmed yet whether it was the work of a tornado, but it prompted a visit from Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad on Tuesday. He declared the City of Muscatine a state disaster area and viewed a damaged church and what's left of the auto body shop. The business owner, Doug Krieger, led the tour and explained how it all happened.

"The best I can say, is that it was like being in a war zone," Krieger said. "I mean 20 seconds, and the building was destroyed."

According to the National Weather Service, the storm blew into Muscatine around 3:04 Monday afternoon and Krieger says before employees could hear sirens, the damage was done.

"No sirens. None? None. It just happened too fast. It was 20 seconds from the time it hit the church and to the time it was across the highway," Krieger added.

The storm hit Calvary Church first. Then, it moved to the auto shop, tearing through the roof and peeling off the siding. It tossed trees and downed light poles across the car dealership lot. About 50 to 60 cars that were for sale were ruined. Customer cars were also destroyed, but Krieger says the loss of life is the most devastating and It could have been worse. Krieger says about 20 employees were working at the time. In a split second, he says they dove into an interior room and shut the door.

"What really saved all the employees inside, they got into a brick, cement explosion proof room. They all got in there except for the one. If they hadn't gone in there I probably would have lost every employee," Krieger said.

The one employee who didn't take cover in the room was injured and later died.

"It's a gentleman that's been with me for a long, long time. It was a guy who was going to retire in December," Krieger said.

The employee was a body technician and has been working for the company for about 30 years. His name has not been released.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down some sixty miles east of Muscatine at 4:08 p.m. in Atkinson, Ill. That tornado is estimated to have been about 50 yards wide and 4 miles long. It knocked down a pole barn and ripped up trees. Investigators say they found tin wrapped around the tree tops.

Update: The National Weather Service has now confirmed that a tornado touched down in Muscatine:

ToRNADO ONE

 

* LOCATION...2.5 MILES NORTHWEST OF MUSCATINE IA TO 4.5 MILES NNE OF

  MUSCATINE IA.

* TIMING...304-310 PM

* INJURIES/FATALITIES...0 INJURIES 1 FATALITY.

* EF-SCALE RATING...EF1.

* MAX WIND...110 MPH

* MAX WIDTH...100 YARDS

* PATH LENGTH...APPROXIMATELY 6.5 MILES.

* DAMAGE INFORMATION...NARROW DAMAGE TRACK WITH TREES SNAPPED AND

  UPROOTED. MOST INTENSE DAMAGE IN BUSINESS DISTRICT ALONG HIGHWAY

  61 WHERE A CHURCH...CAR DEALERSHIP...HOTEL...AND SEVERAL OTHER

  BUSINESSES SUSTAINED DAMAGE. DAMAGE CONTINUED DOWN NEW ERA ROAD

  WHERE SEVERAL FARMSTEADS WERE DAMAGED.

 

TORNADO TWO

 

* LOCATION...1 MILE NORTHEAST OF ATKINSON IL TO 5 MILES ENE OF

  ATKINSON IL.

* TIMING...400 TO 405 PM.

* INJURIES/FATALITIES...NONE

* EF-SCALE RATING...EF1

* MAX WIND...90 MPH.

* MAX WIDTH...50 YARDS

* PATH LENGTH...APPROXIMATELY 4 MILES

* DAMAGE INFORMATION...TREE TRUNKS SNAPPED...GRAIN BIN  

  DESTROYED...AND LARGE TREE LIMBS DOWN. ONE RESIDENCE WITH ROOF

  DAMAGE.