SUNSET HILLS, MO –(KMOX)–A street hard hit by Friday’s tornado was abuzz with chain saws, wood augers and the clicking pens of insurance adjusters.
No one was killed or seriously hurt when a fast-moving, New Year’s Eve day tornado demolished homes, smashed garages and knocked over trees on Court street in Sunset Hills. By Monday dozens of volunteers from Scott Airforce Baser and Joyce Meyer Ministries were helping pick up debris.
Survivor Tony Tumminia told of huddling in a basement stairwell — just outside a basement that was exposed to the open air after the twister sucked the house off its foundation.
“If we would’ve stayed in the basement, everyone would’ve died, for sure,” Tumminia said, “because if you look at the other side of the foundation, it’s snapped in half.”
Odd bits and pieces of debris testified to the fury of the storm — a large bass boat tossed from its driveway into a back yard, a ranch house roof resting on the grass, car head lights peeking from a smashed garage, and a wooden guitar resting delicately against a bush.
Insurance agents were out in force, taking notes and pictures. Utility crews worked from atop cherry buckets, restringing power lines. Relatives with out-of-state licence plates lent a hand.
Gene Gast drove up from Tennessee to help his father and stepmother. His father, Harlan Gast, 78, survived by diving under a tractor. “I’m just glad they’re both alive and doing well,” Gast said, “They’re both running around here with a head on their shoulders and they’re doing fine, doing good.”