People who lost homes, property to recent tornado trying to navigate cleanup process

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – With hundreds of homes and buildings damaged or destroyed by last Friday’s tornado that slammed part of southeast Sedgwick County and the city of Andover, a challenge for many at this point is just trying to figure out the details of cleaning up.

One prospect many home and property owners are facing is that recovery won’t include federal funds as it won’t meet the requirement for FEMA aid. So, still in the early days, there is much to figure out. And on a soggy afternoon Wednesday, each raindrop added a little insult to injury for property owners like Terry Herl, owner of a mobile home park in southeast Sedgwick County the EF-3 tornado damaged. Herl is trying to make headway cleaning up from the tornado that started forming Friday night just west of his property in southeast Wichita.

“Stood watched it from right here in this field behind us and I thought it was just a little dirt devil, but no, it turned into something bigger than a dirt devil,” Herl said of the tornado.

After it passed through, it left a behind a big mess.

Herl said he inherited the property three years ago and only a handful of buildings in the park are occupied. Before the tornado added a bigger challenge, he was already working to get the place cleaned up.

“My biggest thing right now is trying to get it down before we get another wind storm. If we get another wind storm, all this insulation is going to be going all over the place. We’ve already got it bad enough out here, I don’t want to make it any worse,” he said.

Volunteers have helped to start the cleanup, but with the number of damaged buildings, there is a lot more to determine. Herl said with no immediate assistance from the government, the cost becomes a challenge.

“Biggest need is getting dumpsters to put it in and be able to get it hauled off. And the cost of that is about $400 a dumpster, and that’s going to be pretty expensive,” he said.

And getting damaged mobile homes torn down and taken away isn’t as easy as just piling them up on the curb.

“Once we get the weather straightened out, we’ll get it taken care of. We’ve got people that are going to come out and help us,” Herl said.

There is a GoFundMe page where people can donate to help Herl with the cleanup effort.

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