Baxter Springs Residents, Volunteers Sift Through Tornado's Damage

Sunday, May 4th 2014, 7:06 pm
By: News On 6

Volunteers and residents in Baxter Springs, Kansas, used the nicer weather this weekend to speed up their clean-up efforts from last week's nasty tornado.

A EF-2 tornado struck Baxter Springs on April 27. It cut an 8-mile path in parts of Northeastern Oklahoma and, in Southeastern Kansas, you can see damage lining the streets, families are helping families and volunteer organizations out in full force.

4/28/2014 Related Story: Tornado Leaves Overwhelming Damage In Baxter Springs

Just a big mess, it really is," Daniel Eiland said.

Eiland and his family are salvaging what is left of the skating rink and bowling alley.

Once all the valuables are out, the business will be torn down and reduced to a concrete slab.

"I just have no words to describe it you know, like everybody else... it's terrible... absolutely terrible," Eiland said.

Debris piled up and people from all across the area offered a helping hand.

"There's, of course, you know, a lot of people working during the week from out of town, but they really want to get here to help so yesterday we had a big influx of people," volunteer coordinator Jen Smith said. "We ran about 511 volunteer center."

Two years ago, some of those volunteers helping out in Kansas survived another devastating tornado .

"It brought back a lot of memories," Joplin volunteer Robert Edge said. "I'm just glad to be able to return favor for everybody over here."

Edge survived the Joplin tornado in 2011. He drove down to help the people of Baxter Springs clean up and rebuild.

"It's been quite an experience," he said. "I'm just happy I can do something for somebody."

Volunteers from church organizations and the American Red Cross are helping pass out supplies and pack up belongings.

The town is slowly bouncing back.

"We're one week out, so the local people are starting to decompress and get a handle on things," Smith said.

If you want to volunteer in Baxter Springs, there's a curfew in effect from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.