Closings: Schools, churches, day-cares and businesses

Community still rebuilding after tornado damages homes and businesses

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ST. CHARLES, MO (KTVI)-- Nine months after a tornado hammered St. Charles and St. Louis counties people’s lives are starting to return to normal. They were scenes people would not soon forget.  It was May 31st when a tornado slammed into homes on Haversham Drive in St. Charles County.

Mike Tiemann’s home sustained lots of water damage and a host of other problems.  Tiemman said, “As far as the house is concerned it’s pretty much back to normal we were out for nine months, six months I guess.”

He is still making a few repairs to his residence. His neighbors were not so lucky just across the street three homes were destroyed, now one is rebuilt and the family moved in. The other two houses are almost ready to go.  Tiemann says although houses can be rebuilt the uprooted trees will always serve as a reminder of Mother Nature’s fury.  Tiemann added, “It looks a lot different around than it did the first of May.”

The tornado rolled on and damaged businesses in Earth City including the Holiday Inn. Months earlier the owners invested ten million dollars renovating the establishment with beautiful new rooms, then the storm came. Rich Lauck is the hotel’s chief engineer, “Loud noises, stuff flying through the air, water flowing back up through the room’s commodes.”

That evening almost 200 guests were evacuated downstairs to a large room for safety, no one was hurt. It’s the same room where tonight the manager will host a party commemorating the hotel’s first year of business, an anniversary celebration for clients.  Manager Mark Stevens said, “It was a lot of damage to the property we put a lot of money back into it. We are happy we’re open and operating well after a year.”

The Holiday Inn did not have to close during repairs and while other businesses lost power for days a generator kept the Holiday Inn open.

For some homeowners it appears it’s taking a good nine months to get their lives back to normal.