Storm Victims Bracing For More Severe Weather

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HAZELWOOD, MO (KTVI) - The threat of more severe weather has victims of last week’s tornado on edge.  In Hazelwood and other communities still cleaning up and recovering, they have their eyes to the skies and ears to the forecast.

It’s been a nomadic existence for Renee Fletcher and her daughter Ashley, ever since they were displaced by last Wednesday’s tornado.  Renee Fletcher describes where she’s been staying: “Basically, here and there and anywhere I can. Right now I’m staying with a coworker.”

Because all nine buildings at Teson Garden Apartments are condemned, a major concern was picking up their belongings before they could be ruined by more bad weather.

Fletcher says, “There is significant molding that’s already taking place in the building, so it’s definitely, you want to get your things out, but it’s not safe for you to be in there anyway.”

Within the past two days, the non-profit agency Americorps has helped Teson Garden Apartment residents, like the Fletchers; remove their belongings from the dangerous structures.

But with the Red Cross shelter shutting down and other support dwindling, fellow resident Dennis Brown worries for those without insurance who lost everything.  He says, “That’s another storm after the storm: there are people that really don’t have any place to go. So I was trying to figure out a way to make a donation or a fundraiser to raise money for these people.”

Hazelwood Mayor Matthew Robinson says roughly 90 homes were damaged in addition to this apartment complex. Luckily, most structures have been covered and boarded up to avoid more damage from high winds and heavy rain.

Robinson says, “Some of the temporary tarps may rip up, but there are some materials and supplies and volunteers that’ll come out again and patch them up, I hope.”

Perhaps more important than saving the structures, the mayor hopes residents will be prepared to save themselves: “Until those tornado sirens hit again, when they do, obviously you can see what we went through here in Hazelwood, people need to take shelter, because you never know.  You never know when that train’s gonna be coming.”

According to Robinson, police will keep watch at the apartment complex until 6 o’clock Wednesday evening.  After that, Teson Garden Apartments will be closed for repairs, and some of the buildings may have to be demolished.

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