It takes everyone joining together to pull through a disaster and St. Charles County certainly proved that after a tornado ripped through part of our community around 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 10 It left an estimated $3.4 million, 2.5-mile path of destruction through the Defiance area.
The second it was safe to do so, police, fire, ambulance, Regional Emergency Management, Emergency Communications, County Highway, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), Missouri State Highway Patrol, Red Cross, AmeriCorp, Ameren, Cuivre River Electric and the citizens of our community began to help. And they continued to help…throughout the weekend and into the weeks that have followed.
During the storm, three people were injured, one fatally. While any loss of life is a tragedy, we were fortunate that others were not critically injured or that more homes and businesses were not destroyed. That can be directly attributed to those who rushed to the scene to help while first making certain it was safe for themselves and others to do so.
I am proud of the way the community came together and responded after this disaster and am particularly pleased how your County employees jumped into action. The St. Charles County Regional Emergency Management staff were immediately on scene, doing what they are constantly trained to do. County Highway staff responded to remove trees and debris from roadways so emergency crews could reach those in need. County Police made certain homes and residents were safe and, in the days that followed, that traffic was kept to a minimum so that professional crews and volunteers could do their work. Councilman Joe Brazil, whose district is in the Defiance area, was instrumental in organizing teams of workers to assist in clean-up efforts.
Staff in the Community Development Department worked diligently and, in a two-day period, inspected 240 structures to make certain we knew what structures were safe to inhabit or enter. Overall, 72 structures in the tornado’s path were either destroyed, received major or minor damage, or were affected by the storm in some way. The dedication of our employees enabled us to know quickly which homes were not safe, avoiding the potential of more injuries.
Thank you, St. Charles County, for coming together to help those in need during this disaster. Whether your assistance was physical labor, donations of food, supplies or money, distribution of meals, or your thoughts and prayers for those affected, it does indeed take all of us to get through trying times.