Homes leveled and damaged after fatal St. Charles County tornado

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DEFIANCE, Mo. – People in St. Charles County woke up Saturday morning to incomprehensible damage. A deadly tornado touched down near Defiance on Route 94 and Highway F around 8 p.m. Friday night, leveling these two homes and several others. Two people were injured, one was killed.

“We did have a fatality here at the residence behind us. Her husband was also injured,” said Dan Casy, fire chief for the New Melle Fire Protection District. 

“They were elderly, they were on the first level of the home, one was in bed, one was apparently up getting a glass of water.”

Strong winds blew the house across the field. The couple was 100 yards away when they were found, the woman was transported to the hospital where she passed away.

A barn on Highway F had collapsed, one person was trapped inside along with five horses. The person was rescued, and two horses died.

The damage along Highway F was extreme.

“I mean, the amount of trees that were split like toothpicks is insane,” said Tony Frisella, manager of Frisella Nursery in Defiance.

 He said he’s never experienced anything like this; trees and debris filled the road on his way to the nursery.

“It took us about two hours to even get enough trees cleared to get to this area. And I mean, never seen anything like this,” he said.

First responders told us they saw about a three-mile stretch of damage that seemed to follow the highway. Five to ten homes were leveled, and about 25 homes were damaged.

A friend of the homeowners at the corner of Route 94 and Highway F went to the basement when they heard the warnings, and were lucky they did because the rest of the house was destroyed.  

Power crews worked for hours to repair damaged lines.”We’ve relied heavily on the processionals, including – we want to thank Ameren and Cuivre River,” said Steve Ehlmann, St. Charles County executive.

“The only thing holding us back last night was the power lines that were on the road and we really couldn’t send our people out to start clearing the roads until they got here.”

Frisella said the business sustained damage, but they were lucky.

“Some friends of mine in this area they’ve lost their homes. I mean for the most part us, our glass greenhouse – glass and wind don’t mix so obviously it took a lot of damage, the roof took some damage,” he said.

“Couple greenhouses came out of the ground. But I mean for all in all, compared to everybody else we did fare pretty well.”

“We have asked for the assistance of Americore, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, and other volunteer organizations who are on their way out here,” said Chris Hunt, St. Charles County Regional Management Director.

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