Volunteers clean up Winger storm damage
WINGER, Minn. - It was a wild night for many of us - as storms ripped through the region.
High winds ripped apart homes - uprooted trees and even knocked over a cell phone tower in Fosston. In one small town, the damage caused an even bigger issue for homes, as a gas line was struck causing propane to leak into a neighborhood - prompting evacuations.
It happened at the CHS Grain Elevator in Winger, Minnesota.
After about an hour crews managed to stop the flow of gas around 1 Monday morning and find the cause of the leak.
"It appears that something hit the valve and possibly cracked it. But the gas company was able to get the leak stopped,” said Volunteer Fire Chief, Scott Revier.
In Winger, a Sunday night storm tore through town tearing the siding off of a church and causing thousands of dollars in damage all around the area.
A massive clean-up effort in a small town.
"I was surprised to see what I came to here this morning,” said Volunteer Ron Lemer.
"I don't know if a tornado came through here or what but sure made a mess,” said Lemer.
Fast moving winds sliced through the siding a home, and wrapping a trampoline around a tree.
"Upwards 50, 60 miles an hour if not higher,” said Volunteer Rueben Fritsch.
The national weather service estimates winds hit a maximum of 66 miles per hour about 14 miles away in Fosston.
Winds in Winger could've been higher.
No one was injured in the overnight storm. The National Weather Service plans to assess the damage tomorrow to see if a tornado touched down.
"I think we're just kind of probably overwhelmed yet. Haven't really sat back to think about it,” said Revier.
The storm uprooted and damaged dozens of trees.
A group of volunteers from the town bank volunteered to clear branches and trunks from their neighbors' yards.
"Just to clean up our little town. It takes all of us chipping together. The city itself has limited resources. We just got to come out and get it all cleaned up and move on,” said Lemer.
The small town doesn't have a streets department to clear the mess.
Neighbors say they're happy for their help.
"Every time everybody comes in and pitches in and helps clean it up, it sure puts a smile on everybody's face. Kind of gets them over that hump,” said Lemer.
A few blocks away, volunteers help clear trees from the church.
"We've got a lot of siding down. We've got a window in the steeple go down. Behind the siding is ravaged on the roof in the back. A lot of shingles missing. We've got glass broken everywhere and trees down. It's been one heck of a day already,” said Fritsch.
The storm broke windows, ripped the roof off, and caused water damage in the church.
They're waiting on damage estimates, but say it'll likely be thousands of dollars.
"To do the damage that it's done you now it's the second time in a month and a half that it's happened,” said Fritsch.
About six weeks ago, another storm tore through the area.
And the same people cleaning up today -- are the same ones who did the job then.
"This is just another reason to get tougher and everyone is working hard and sweating and getting it done,” said Fritsch.
A town coming together to clean up.
"These are my neighbors. I want to help them. I'd want them to help me if I needed help,” said Revier.