September 17, 2014

Twin twisters cause heavy damage in Pilger, 2 dead, 20 hurt

An adult and a five-year-old were reportedly killed and at least 20 people were hurt, some critically, when two tornadoes struck the Stanton County town of Pilger yesterday afternoon.

The northeast Nebraska community of about 350 has severe damage to multiple buildings, including the fire station. Reports say the twin twisters touched down within about a mile of one another around 3:45 PM.

A county commissioner says more than half the town of Pilger was wiped out. Many homes were damaged and the structures that were demolished include the co-op grain bins. A school is said to be beyond repair.

The injured were taken to three regional hospitals, including a trauma center in Omaha.

Governor Heineman has declared a state of emergency. The National Guard is preparing to assist local emergency responders and to help with the cleanup.

Several other northeast Nebraska communities were affected by tornadoes and high winds, leaving some areas with severe damage. Emergency responders are working in Wisner and Stanton conducting searches for people trapped under debris.

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency has reports of damage from local emergency managers in both Cuming and Wayne Counties.

Highway 24 from Norfolk to Stanton, and Highway 275 and 15 in Stanton County, is closed. Motorists are urged to stay off the roadways to allow emergency services to respond.