Bank Surveillance Cameras Rolled as Tornado Hit

By Mark Geary, Reporter

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By Becky Ogann

PARKERSBURG - Seconds before the tornado hit Parkersburg, First State Bank looked like most banks do on a Sunday, quiet and empty. Then the winds roared through, papers and furniture swirled into the air. Even though the tornado ripped the security camera off the wall and tossed it around, the lens still managed to capture the video at left.

"It was incredible, like nothing you've ever seen before,” said Rhonda Allen, First State Bank.

A second camera caught the twister tearing apart a separate portion of the bank. The intensity of the storm could have easily injured customers or employees if it passed through during regular business hours.

"We were very fortunate it happened when it did on a Memorial Day weekend with everyone gone, obviously no one was in here at the bank," said Doug Benjamin, First State Bank president.

Banks typically store lots of sensitive documents. First State Bank's vault remained intact and the CEO promises everyone's information is safe.

Security cameras are supposed to document thieves in action. In this case, the cameras successfully caught the tornado sweeping up everything in its path. There's nothing anyone can do though, but stare at the video in awe.

Crews will demolish the bank sometime next week. Then they'll start the rebuilding process almost immediately.

On May 25th, severe weather caused at least six tornadoes in eastern Iowa. The most damaging one wiped out hundreds of homes in Parkersburg, Hazleton, Dunkerton, and New Hartford. Seven people died. It was the strongest tornado to hit Iowa in more than 30 years.

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