Parkersburg starts to rebuild one week after tornado - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Parkersburg starts to rebuild one week after tornado


by Jamie Grey

PARKERSBURG (KWWL) - One week after the tornado, many in Parkersburg say things are looking up, and now buildings are going up too starting with one garage.

"An F5 tornado hit this community and turned it into Butler County's biggest ever disaster area. Now, one week later almost to the hour, we've turned this into Butler County's biggest construction area," Butler County Sheriff Jason Johnson said.

"I suppose that people that are just seeing it for the first time maybe might say after a week, no progress. But there is a great deal of progress. And I think you're going to see people ready to rebuild very quickly here," Sen. Charles Grassley said.

Jim Bellows' garage on the rental property he owns is the very first thing going back up. Volunteers and family members are helping with the project.

"I know it looks awful, but I know it can look back the way we had it. That's what the main thing was to go ahead and do it. Build now, build fast, and show people we can go ahead and do it," Bellows said.

Tad Agoglia travels around the country with his company Disaster Solutions offering free help to disaster torn cities. His trucks and crew help clear debris from main roads to help others get through and start the rebuilding. Agoglia says his company makes money by spending a couple months a year cleaning up hurricane debris. He then turns around and provides free emergency assistance for disasters like ice storms, tornadoes and mudslides the rest of the year.

"The one thing that really struck me about this community is that the community has come together to work hard, to begin the clean up of the city immediately, begin building immediately," Agoglia said.

The one week mark is tough for some, but most people will also tell you the milestone marks progress.

"It's just amazing what happened one week ago, but it's also amazing what's happened since that time. We'll never forget that time and what that time represents. 4:59. It really is truly remarkable what's happened since then. I'll never forget it," Parkersburg Police Chief Chris Luhring said.

Police Chief Luhring hopes the aid and clean up in Parkersburg will make the community FEMA's new standard for helping a disaster area.

Online Reporter: Jamie Grey

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