Vinton residents cleaning up from storms - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Vinton residents cleaning up from storms

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VINTON (KWWL) -

Monday morning's storms tore a path of destruction through Benton County.  It's tough just to drive through the city of Vinton because there is so much tree damage and several power poles and lines knocked down.  But people across town have been coming together to begin picking up from the mess mother nature left behind.

Just outside Vinton along a county road, you can begin to see the impact from the storms.  Metal is stripped from farm buildings.  Corn fields lay flattened from the powerful winds.  As you may your way into the city, there is tree damage in every direction.

"We went to the basement, and we heard on the roof something.  And that must have been the chimney falling off.  There was about two foot of the chimney that fell off.  Then we looked outside and the street was blocked both ways with trees blown all over," said Orville Schrage, Vinton resident and storm victim.

Nearly every home across town sustained some form of damage, with some having siding and roofing peeled away.  Part of Pioneer Seeds Company is in shambles.  The roof of the Iowa Braille School is covered with debris.  At Virginia Gay Hospital, part of the acute care unit and the dialysis center are now closed, after a smokestack collapsed and knocked holes into the building.  That damage has forced the hospital to re-route some patients.

"We partner with Mercy Hospital in Cedar Rapids for our dialysis service.  And we're already making arrangements for transportation for dialysis patients to go to Cedar Rapids and have their dialysis treatments done," said Mike Riege, Virginia Gay Hospital Administrator.

In residential areas, family, friends, and neighbors of storm victims have come together in what will likely be a long clean-up process.  And despite the widespread devastation, there's one thing many folks in Vinton are very grateful for.

"Thank God no one was seriously hurt in the storm," said Riege.

It will be pretty dark in Vinton Monday evening as about 1,000 people do still remain without power.  Crews finished up work for the night around 9 p.m. and plan to resume efforts to restore all electricity Tuesday morning.

Alliant Energy has identified about 500 power poles and dozens of miles of power lines that have been knocked out across eastern Iowa as a result of the storms.  Substations that serve Clutier and Garwin have also been damaged.  Crews will be switching electric feeds to restore all customers as quickly as possible, so even non-damaged equipment in the area will take a toll with extra customers using much needed power.

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