SPRINGFIELD, S.D. — Hundreds of volunteers turned out to help residents of Springfield after a storm wreaked havoc in the town and displaced 70 people.
The storm early Monday brought straight-line winds of up to 110 mph that destroyed four homes and damaged dozens more, according to the Bon Homme County Emergency Management Office. No serious injuries were reported.
Mike Scheetz’s home was among those leveled. He was watching TV when the storm hit shortly after midnight Sunday, and witnessed windows shattering and debris flying around.
“Then bam — that quick, it was over,” he said. “It was two minutes or less, I’m sure. The garage is gone — I don’t even know where the pieces are.”
More than 430 volunteers showed up later Monday to help with cleanup, Emergency Management spokesman Lee Rettig said. They brought more than 60 pieces of heavy equipment, including tractors, dump trucks and skid-steer loaders. More than 80 first responders from Springfield and four other area towns led the effort to remove downed trees and clean up debris.
“We are pleasantly overwhelmed by the volunteer response,” Fire Chief Shannon DeFries said. “It’s great to see neighbors helping neighbors in a time of need.”
The storm caught the community of 2,000 people by surprise. National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Heitkamp said no warning was issued because the storm didn’t have a history of damaging winds.
“Thankfully, no one was injured or killed by this storm,” he said. “There were severe weather warnings all afternoon and evening, but there was no warning for this storm because it intensified as it crossed the (Missouri) River.”
The American Red Cross set up a shelter at the local school for people displaced by the storm, and served meals to first responders and volunteers.