Recovery Process Begins After EF-2 Tornado Strikes Baxter Spring - KOAM TV 7

Recovery Process Begins After EF-2 Tornado Strikes Baxter Springs


Tornadoes that touched down around the area Sunday evening took out homes and businesses, killed one person and injured others, and now four-staters are assessing damage and picking up the pieces.

Cherokee county Sheriff, David Groves, says after multiple scans of the area, a total of 100 homes across a 2 mile wide area, including two specific blocks of town sustained damage from the twister.

"We calculated 100 residences that were damaged in some way, some minor, some significant, some totally destroyed." Groves confirms.

We were able to explore the most destructive part of the town...where homeowners say...while the physical items may be gone, they're still glad to be alive.

"We just saw the funnel cloud coming through the trees here and it just happened so quick. We got to the basement, and it probably didn't last more than 30 seconds to come through here and make all this destruction." says Baxter Springs Resident, Eric Trease.

The destruction left many with the job of cleaning up, but for Rodney Woodcock, it's hard to find where to begin.

"I was outside of Baxter. And my wife and kids were here. So I was rushing this way." Woodcock says.

Woodcock's home was one of the 100 completely destroyed, As he met with officials today, he told them, he's lucky he got out.

"Luckily the door came open and the house came on top of it." Woodcock says.

For Trease, he says if it wasn't for quick response from officials...the damage could have been much worse.

"Me and my boy jumped out of the storm shelter and went around and checked the neighborhood and made sure everyone was out and moving. And the emergency crews were, you know baxter fire department were here just quick." Trease explains.

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran visited with homeowners offering his support, assuring that the government will work with residents.

"The assessment usually takes a few days to determine the amount of damage, the total loss, and then calculations of insurance comes to private loses to homes of individuals." Moran says.

Many residents say possessions can all be replaced...life cannot.

Sheriff Groves confirms that the one fatality reported by EMS officials was a medical related death, and not a result of the tornado. 9 transported patients being listed in fair conditions or have since been released.

Many homeowners in Baxter Springs are looking ahead to the rebuilding or repair process. But before any of that can begin, they need to have their property assessed by insurance companies.

Looking at the 75 destroyed homes in Baxter Springs, it's hard to know where to begin the process of rebuilding...that's why insurance is there to help.

"We'll complete the estimates on what it would take to rebuild it, and and at that point you have your options of what you want to do." State Farm Field Claims Agent, Dean Crawford tells residents as they go through the initial assessment. 

Crawford has spent the past couple of days visiting local clients for assessments.

"This is also a very large catastrophe for these folks." he says.

One homeowner showed us how the intense power of the tornado shifted the foundation of his home. It's now considered condemned, and a total loss.

Many homeowners we spoke with say insurance is a priority. So when a tornado like this does happen, and your home has so much damage where it can't even be lived in, you are prepared. Agents offer insurance for just about everything, including auto, home, disaster and much more.
And as agents tell their clients...in times like these, it's important to cover everything.

"The process slows down a little bit from here on, because we want to be very thorough. We want to be able to pick up all the damages that you have." Crawford explains.

Insurance agents want to remind homeowners that they should report their claims to companies as soon as possible.

State farm along with several other agencies will be in the Baxter Springs area for some time as those claims are made.
The first step is contacting your local agent to discuss an adjusters visit to your property so a claim can be filed.

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