NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodSouthwest Iowa


'I grew up in this house:' Family huddles in tiny cellar during Minden tornado

Posted at 7:36 PM, Apr 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-29 20:36:34-04

MINDEN, Iowa (KMTV) — Monday morning in Minden Mayor Kevin Zimmerman said that, in this town of approximately 600 people, 180 of them are without homes. The mayor was emotional, at times, but folks seemed to be in brighter spirits than on Saturday — less than a day after a tornado swept through the east side of the town.

The Schultz family was busy cleaning up the home where 71-year-old Al grew up. His son, Matthew, lives there now and sheltered in a tiny, old-fashioned cellar during the storm with his girlfriend and young children.

Mayor says Minden will 'get there' with tornado recovery

In Neola, a community a few miles to the west, donated goods are available for anyone in need. Right now, they have more than enough supplies because the response from people wanting to help has been strong. Volunteers recommend giving to a fund established at the Neola branch of Mid-States bank.

Neola Community Center provides supplies to storm ravaged neighbors

A Red Cross workers walks through storm-ravaged Minden, Iowa. April 28, 2024.

It's a new day and we're getting a new look at some of the efforts to clean up here in Minden. I'm your southwest Iowa neighborhood reporter, Katrina Markel. We're seeing a little bit different view of some of the damage we saw a few days ago but already, there's been a lot of progress and we're hearing more stories of heartache and hope.

With so much here gone ....

Al Schultz is thinking about what's still here.

"I'm 71. I grew up in this house."

Now, his son Matthew lives in the family home. The younger Schultz and his family rode out the storm in a tiny root cellar.

Cheetos for the four-year-old still in a camp chair.

"Sounded like a train, ears started popping. You could hear it."

"You could feel the suction"

Matthew's sister, Ashley Krimmer, watching the news from across the state in Marshalltown...
"There, for a while, we had no idea if anyone was okay," said Krimmer.

"He answered right away and he goes, 'Yeah, we were all fine. We were in the basement' and I go 'Seriously? That basement actually could survive a tornado?'" Al Schultz said.

Now, the recovery process begins...

"Just cleaning up and getting them a safe place to stay," said Krimmer.

"Hassle with the insurance companies. That comes up next, " the elder Schultz said.

Neighborly help appreciated ...

"... All of a sudden, they just came around with food and we're like, 'Oh yeah, we haven't eaten all day. That would probably be a good idea,'" Krimmer said.

Grateful they heeded early warnings and for that tiny, old-fashioned cellar.

Folks wanting to donate have options at the Western Iowa Community Foundation and Tri-States Bank in Neola.