KEOKUK COUNTY, IOWA — Glenda Sieren knows the classic instruction – the safest place to be during a tornado is your basement. But as a storm approached her home on and she waited in the basement, she had an eerie feeling that something wasn’t right. At the last minute she decided to leave her house and drive away from the path of the storm. She made it out safely, only to return home later that evening to find her home had been pulled off its foundation, exposing the basement where she would have been sheltering.
“So I went to the basement and then I just didn’t feel like I should be there,” said Sieren. “I came back up and looked out again to see where was that it was headed right towards here, and I just grabbed my purse, jumped in the car and headed out.”
She ended up driving to Fairfield, and then returned.
“I kept driving toward where it was light, so I figured I would be getting away from the storm,” said Sieren. “Dad used to always tell us, to shelter in the southwest corner of the basement, towards where the storm was coming from.”
That southwest wall collapsed into the basement as the house came off the foundation.
For the past three days lots of people have been coming to help clean up.
“There’s so many people out even know didn’t know,” said Sieren. “There’s been church groups coming, there’s kids from schools, and the football team.”
Volunteer students from Pekin and Oskaloosa were on hand to help. They were picking up lots of debris was scattered across the fields.
“I thought it was coming straight at me and I had 20 seconds before I had nothing left to my name,” said Jim Campbell, who lives just north of the tornado track. “But it was deceptive looked like it was crossing the highway in coming at me.”
Campbell’s place was un-touched, so he is helping his neighbors cleanup.
Since Glenda was able to get away from the tornado, she has pondered, what made here decide to take the car, instead of waiting in the basement.
“It was survival,” said Sieren, when asked why she made the decision.
“There’s a reason I’m still here, I’ve had it like I said I’ve had a lot of loss in my life I lost a 17 or 19 year old son, and the baby and all my siblings, and I’ve been just here by myself and I’m about to keep saying there’s a reason. “God’s got a purpose for me. I don’t know what it is for sure but he does.”