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Friday, June 21, 2024

Greenfield, Iowa, Reels From a Deadly Tornado

U.S.Greenfield, Iowa, Reels From a Deadly Tornado

The tornado had just hit Greenfield, Iowa, and residents were already using skid loaders to clear streets. With the hospital damaged, they took the wounded to a medical triage center at the local lumberyard. And across western Iowa, paramedics and police officers were speeding toward the small town to help.

“Everybody became little makeshift ambulances,” said Ray Sorensen, a member of the Iowa House of Representatives who lives in Greenfield, and who said he helped with the rescues after racing back to town shortly after the storm hit on Tuesday afternoon. “We pulled a guy from the rubble and put him on a little makeshift stretcher that we made, threw him in the back of a truck.”

On Wednesday, the roughly 2,000 residents of Greenfield, 60 miles southwest of Des Moines, began to get a clearer look at the destruction all around. Gov. Kim Reynolds said some areas had been “flattened into debris,” and the National Weather Service reported “at least EF-3 damage” in the town, using the 0-to-5 rating system for tornado severity.

State officials said Wednesday evening that four people in the Greenfield area had died and at least 35 more were treated for injuries. In nearby Adams County, another person died from storm-related causes, the medical examiner said.

Around Greenfield, the scenes of destruction began abruptly, with lush green yards transitioning into the chaos of splintered lumber and lawns littered with household items — a cooler, a sink. Outside the local hospital, shredded tree branches were scattered across a lawn and a board had shattered the window of a parked car. Longtime residents stared at battered homes, some damaged beyond repair.

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