WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 17, 2010, 08:32 AM

Destructive tornado tears up properties near the small town of Bluffton

Bluffton, Minn. (WDAY TV) - People near the small town of Bluffton say they had no idea a destructive twister was headed their way. Most thought the storm had passed when the worst of it hit, leaving some people with broken bones and tearing up properties for miles.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

Farmers near Bluffton are shocked. In just a matter of minutes, their livelihoods were gone. Tonight, they begin the long process of trying to put their properties back in order; what's left of them.

Just hours after a devastating tornado tore through Otter Tail County, Bill and Regina Weniger are in disbelief.

“We have nothing. There's nothing left. We had a hog barn, you can't even find that.”

Couple has lived here since 1962.

“We built this place.”

A place once home to their ten children. Tonight, every building leveled, their kitchen is 200 feet from where it once stood.

“We hugged together and we said lord just save us. That's all we asked for. Just keep us intact.”

The optimistic pair escaped injury, possibly death, by seconds.

“I told my husband. I said we've got to get to the basement now. And we pushed each other down because we could already hear stuff falling.”

“And you just heard boom boom boom boom and 4 minutes later, everything was quiet.”

Across the way, 78 year old Fred Stinar is looking at his farmstead. Land passed down generations for 118 years, most of it gone.

“Many years, you just got to take it as it goes though. Nobody got hurt though.”

The scene is unbearable. Vehicles flipped, trees stripped of limbs, and signs bent in half.

“It's going to take a lot of cleanup.”

But tonight, family and friends are coming together, each lending a helpful hand. A way to show Mother Nature, she can destroy their belongings, but not their spirits.

“We were going to retire and downsize. I guess we got it taken care of so where we go from here we don't know.”

A tornado in 2005 came through the same area. It did little damage compared to todays. It just lifted the roof of the Weniger's home.