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Couple describes riding Buchanan County storm out in camper, which was struck by tree

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 7:47 PM CDT
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HAZLETON, Iowa (KCRG) - Jeremy Whittle, the park ranger at Fontana County Park in Buchanan County, said the damage there caused by Tuesday night’s storm is the worst he’s ever seen.

Whittle said it’s going to take months to clean up all of the storm damage, so they’re asking people to avoid the park.

“If you don’t need to be here, just stay away right now you know,” Whittle said. “Give us some time, because we don’t even have all the roads opened up and there’s so many tree branches and limbs hanging yet that can come down at any time, it’s just not safe right now.”

Three people were camping there during the time of the storm. None were hurt.

Charles and Deborah Peters, of Independence, were one of the groups camping there during the windstorm.

“All of a sudden the whole camper just jumped,” Charles said. “It almost threw me out of the seat, my sandwich and coke were gone.”

The couple spent Wednesday cleaning out the camper for insurance to come to take a look at it. They are also counting their blessings.

“This is probably the worst thing we’ve ever had,” Deborah said. “We are, like I said, very grateful we were not hurt, not hurt at all. Scared to death, yes. Hurt no.”

The Peters believe that their camper is totaled. Right now, they’re not worried about materialistic things. They are just happy to have each other

“The Lord was watching us,” Deborah said. “If he wanted to take us home, yesterday would’ve been a perfect time. But he must have wanted us still here for a while.”

Nearby in Hazleton, city workers started cleaning up tree debris as soon as the storm let up.

Hazleton city clerk Cole Passick spent today at the tree dump removing debris so people have a clear path to drop off their tree branches. Passick said the storm did a lot of damage around town. It uprooted trees, damaged homes, and left some without power.

People can contact the city if they need anything.

“Hopefully get everyone power,” Passick said. “Then it’s gonna be seeing what assets are out there to apply for helping, for any funding for the damage if there is some, and do more of the administrative work.”

Passick said nobody was hurt during the storm.

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