Pilger assess damage, prepares for next step after deadly tornad - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Pilger assess damage, prepares for next step after deadly tornado

Pilger assess damage, prepares for next step after deadly tornado

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Pilger, Nebraska residents begin cleaning up after deadly tornado. Pilger, Nebraska residents begin cleaning up after deadly tornado.
PILGER, NE (KTIV) -

As the sun rose Tuesday morning in Pilger, Nebraska, the daylight revealed the damage from Monday's powerful storms.

"The tornado was right there," says Kimberly Neiman, Pilger's Village Clerk. "I mean you couldn't touch it, but it looked like you could touch it and I just said, "Drive fast," and we moved over and we saw the other tornado. We saw it hit Pilger and we came back in and the first view we had was this."

As Pilger's Village Clerk, Neiman lives and works in the town of less than 400 people.

Now, she has no home or office. Her life and her livelihood destroyed.

"It makes me very sad. I've worked for the village for 18 years," says Neiman.

Authorities say the tornado destroyed 75 percent of the town. Buildings reduced to rubble, power poles no longer standing straight, and people's prized possessions scattered everywhere.

Winds peeled back this roof and rain drenched debris.

Residents began the long process of putting their lives back together after they lost so much. It's a process that could take weeks, months, even years. Throughout the day, people dug through piles of bricks and wood where their homes once stood to get a clearer picture of their next step.

Tim Duncan rode out the storm in his basement and says he's lucky to be alive.

"I got a bump on the head, scratches and something hit my back," says Tim Duncan, the Chairman of the Village Board. "My sister got a cracked collarbone, my nephew got a gash in the head. She's fixed. He's sewed up and I'm taking care of so we can be lucky that after they uncovered me that we could walk out of there."

Duncan says all of his belongings are gone and he was only able to find two pairs of his jeans and one pair of shorts in a bean field across from his house.

Pilger's town motto, "Too Tough to Die," has proven true in the past, now many say the small farming community will have to work hard to live up to it.

"You know, it's hard for me to say, "Yes," and it's hard for me to say, "No," right now," says Neiman. "Sorry. It's just really difficult because I don't know."

Electric crews from across northeast Nebraska have arrived in Pilger to help restore power and get people back on their feet.

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