Stories of survival as recovery begins in Marshalltown

Debris lays on the ground after a tornado hits downtown Marshalltown.

When you see the images across Marshalltown after a powerful tornado roared through the heart of the central Iowa community, it's hard to imagine that no serious injuries were reported amidst all the devastation.

"Didn't hear the locomotive like they always say but all of a sudden, my front door started rattling and you could feel the wind and stuff." Mike Steffen was wrapping up another normal day at his downtown Marshalltown business, when mother nature intervened. "Found about a 4x4 wooden table in the back corner, 40 feet into the building," Said Steffen. "Two adults and two kids, all of us got underneath that table and, within three minutes, it was quiet, it was done."

What Mike and thousands of others in Marshalltown walked out to, was a community forever scarred by ferocious winds. "It went right downtown, basically over the police department, city hall, the courthouse and then continued out east of town." Said Capt. Brian Batterson of the Marshalltown Police Department.

Nearly every vehicle at the city's police headquarters was damaged or destroyed by the tornado. A gas leak in the building forced officers and staff to evacuate and a command center was set up at a city fire station. Thousands were left without power or gas after the storm. Alliant Energy is now on scene working to repair and restore services to customers that still have a home or business to return to.

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