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Severe Property Damage, No Deaths In Marshalltown Tornado

Clean-up efforts continued Friday in Marshalltown after a tornado devastated the downtown area and some residential neighborhoods Thursday afternoon.

Streets in downtown Marshalltown were blocked off so crews and residents could remove bricks, broken glass, tree branches and downed power lines.

“As you get out into the neighborhoods, if you go west from downtown, we look like we have some pretty significant damage about six to eight blocks going to the west, and then to the east approximately 12 blocks,” Marshalltown Fire Chief Dave Rierson said.

Rierson said Friday morning there were no known deaths and only minor injuries reported. He also said 28 residents were relocated to a Red Cross shelter Thursday night, but he did not know how many families had been displaced.

Marshalltown was one of three central Iowa communities damaged by at least five tornados that touched down Thursday afternoon. Pella and Bondurant were also hit.

“My house got taken out by it,” said Marshalltown resident Shane McLaughlin. “Well, the roof’s gone. The house is still there. But everybody’s okay in my neighborhood, all my neighbors are fine, and that’s the important thing.”

On Friday afternoon more than 5,000 Marshalltown residents were still without power.

An Alliant Energy spokesman said about 500 power poles will have to be replaced and said it’s a multi-day effort.

UnityPoint Health Marshalltown, the main hospital, took a direct hit. Pam Delagardelle, the president of UnityPoint’s Waterloo region, said no patients or staff were injured. She said 43 patients were evacuated and officials are still trying to find out how many community members sustained injuries from the tornado.

The main hospital is closed, but Delagardelle said the south campus is providing emergency and urgent care.

Marshall County employees were at the damaged courthouse Friday ripping out carpet, clearing trees and moving records.

County Auditor-Recorder Nan Benson said she was in the courthouse when the tornado hit and saw part of the clock tower from the top of the building fall onto the lawn.

“We have a lot of water damage in the courthouse,” Benson said. “When the roof went, it damaged the sprinklers, so water was running down the side of the courthouse for two hours.”

Benson said historical records and election equipment are secured.

“We don’t know when we’ll be open for business,” said Marshall County Treasurer Jarret Heil. “We’re just so thankful no one was seriously injured and no fatalities. That’s such a blessing and a miracle.”

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter