Taopi: 6 months after tornado destruction

[anvplayer video=”5144027″ station=”998128″]

(ABC 6 News) – It’s been six months since a tornado ripped through the small town of Taopi back in April, displacing half the town.

For one man, half a year later, he is finally getting his new home.

Terry Voigt’s world was turned upside down after that devastating tornado destroyed his entire home, leaving only rubble behind. But, his fresh start begins today, with a brand new home.

“I mean, you were in kind of a daze for a couple of days before you realize that everything was gone,” said Voigt.

The EF2 tornado completely decimated the town and everything in its path. Roofs were torn off houses, trees were uprooted and entire homes were pushed off their foundations.

“Around 10:30 p.m. that night we heard a loud noise and we went out and all the windows in the south just blew in. We ran and laid on the bedroom floor and just rode out the storm, and all of a sudden, it started raining in the bedroom. The roof was gone,” Voight recalled from that night on April 12 when the tornado touched down.

The town, a shell of its former self, left many people without a home.
“We were like a population of 61 when the tornado hit, and we were down to thirty,” said Taopi City Clerk Jim Kiefer. “We had half the town displaced.”

However, six months later, things are starting to look up again for the community of Taopi.

“It’s unbelievable the amount of work that’s gone on for six months,” added Kiefer. “Three weeks ago, there were four crews in each corner, a block down, working on new homes going up. There’s been a lot of construction going on this summer.”

One of those new homes is for Voigt, who says he could not be happier to be able to move back into the town he loves.

“It feels great, it’s gonna be awesome. The community is just so awesome and you know, there’s three, four of them going up around me, and we’re all going to hopefully move in around the same time,” exclaimed Voigt.
With all of the construction and brand-new homes, the town looks better than ever.

“Today, everything looks good, the town looks better than it had ever looked,” said Kiefer.

Voigt says the community has been brought closer together since that destructive night.

“Everybody gets together and just helps each other out every chance we get. Like a family,” said Voigt.