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Tornado does $2.7 million in infrastructure damage

Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa — The tornado that devastated portions of eastern Iowa Friday destroyed 39 homes and caused an estimated $2.7 million in infrastructure damage, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management officials said Sunday.

The infrastructure estimate includes costs for debris removal and damage to parks, recreational facilities and public buildings, according to Dave Miller, an administrator with Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Miller said the tornado destroyed 39 homes in Louisa and Muscatine counties, caused major damage to 28 residences in the area and minor damage to 81 more homes.

The small town of Fruitland was hit the hardest by the storm. Of the 39 homes wiped out during the storm, 29 were in Fruitland, which has close to 1,000 people.

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"Everybody’s still in shock, but they’re still motivated and doing the cleanup work, doing what has to be done," said Fruitland mayor Bill Brockert.

Miller, along with Lt. Governor Patty Judge, the Homeland Security Advisor to Gov. Chet Culver, visited Grandview and Fruitland Monday.

Miller said that officials will decide whether to ask for President Bush for disaster declaration within the next day or so. If they decide not to ask for a presidential declaration, Miller said they will look into the Small Business Administration’s programs or the state’s individual assistance program, which it started after the ice storms of last winter.

"We’ve got some options available as we go through this," Miller said.

Cleanup efforts are ongoing in the area. They are being carried out by local crews, though Miller said that the state can offer assistance if needed.

"They are so devastating to the people that are involved, especially in those small communities," Miller said. "It takes a bit for them to recover."

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