GOODMAN, Mo. — A tornado struck this rural Missouri town Tuesday evening, extensively damaging the elementary school and fire station. Two people suffered minor injuries but there were no deaths.
"It appears we had a tornado touch down,” said Gregg Sweeten, McDonald County Emergency Management director. “We’ve been lucky. We haven't had any major injuries or fatalities reported.”
Sweeten said the storm ripped through the west side of the small town about 7:30 p.m. central time. In addition to the school and fire station, several homes and businesses reported damage.
The Empire District Electric Co. reported electricity to 7,700 customers in the area had been disrupted by downed power lines, though the number had been reduced to 4,000 within hours.
Megan Terry, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield, Missouri, said reports from the scene made it apparent a tornado swept through the region.
Mayor Richard Davidson of nearby Neosho said the Hugh Robinson Memorial Airport sustained minor damage, and a single aircraft blown over.
Sheriff Chris Jennings said emergency workers in Goodman reported two injured people, though not seriously. An elementary school custodian in the building took cover and escaped harm.
Goodman is a tiny community (1,240 population) tucked into the southwest corner of Missouri off Interstate 49 near the Arkansas and Oklahoma borders.
It is 30 miles south of Joplin, Missouri, where a historic tornado six years ago killed 158 people, injured more than 1,200 and caused more than $2 billion in damage.
Deana Bunch said her 78-year-old mother was shaken but not injured. Bunch said barns on the family property were badly damaged.
"We're going to have to take all the barns down,” said Bunch. “They're all gone. The big barn where my dad used to keep all his antique cars before he passed. They're all gone.
"They had planted trees, 23 trees, one for each grandchild as they were born, and every one of them is wiped out. But mom's OK. Sister is OK. Everything else is replaceable."
Meghan Sprenkle, co-owner of Goodman Tire and Auto, said she was watching the news with her husband and heard reports of a tornado and went it check on the shop, finding the storm had barely missed it.
"It took off the roof of a nearby apartment complex,” she said.
Details for this story were supplied by the Joplin, Missouri Globe.