MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — More than 16,000 customers in Marshall County are still without power over 24 hours after a storm with 99 mph winds wreaked havoc across the state.
“In 2018 when we had the tornado, obviously we had a significant amount of damage. It was concentrated a large area, but it wasn’t the whole town. The south side of Marshalltown in 2018 was pretty much left untouched. This storm touched every corner of our community,” Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper said.
Countless trees uprooted, large limbs snapped, power lines down and roofs were damaged. Chief Tupper said they are still working to assess all the damage.
Monday after the storm passed, Chief Tupper said first responders faced some issues when trying to respond to calls.
“We did have a lot of people trapped in cars for extended periods of time that we just couldn’t get to because of the downed power lines. But we were eventually able to get all that cleared up,” Chief Tupper said.
Fire crews had another obstacle to deal with. Multiple garage doors to the garage bay storing the fire engines blew out. Chief Tupper said that also played a role in response times.
“We’re celebrating our year anniversary in this building this month, actually. After the storm passed through, we were busy right away with 911 calls and all of the garage bay doors for the fire department were severely damaged,” Chief Tupper said. “They couldn’t get their vehicles out right away. It was a mess.”
Overall, he said the damage to their department building is nothing compared to what others are dealing with in town. Waking up after yet another major storm tears their community apart.
“It was deja vu. It is flashback to 2018 and we’re still cleaning up from 2018 and still trying to rebuild from 2018. We did not need this,” said Chief Tupper. “But Marshalltown has a very strong community feel, great people and hard-working people, and we’re going to be OK. But this is a little bit of a setback for us.”
Chief Tupper said he is aware of one major injury from the storm involving a garbage truck blowing, getting hit by a tree and trapping the driver. One person did have to be life flighted.