CHARLES CITY, Iowa- Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of an F-5 tornado that ripped through Charles city killing 13 people and changing the community forever.
Charlie Thompson of Charles City was in second grade when the tornado hit and says he remembers it like it was yesterday.
He said he saw the announcement of the tornado on KGLO warning residents to take cover. He said that is when he ran to the basement.
“We had nine big elm trees around the house that were all taken down it took part of the roof and a factory that was an entire square block factory was reduced to tooth picks,” said Charlie Thompson.
Randy Gilbert was 15 when it happened and said he saw the tornado hit the hospital. He said his grandpa was driving when his car was thrown from the road and his house was destroyed with his grandmother still inside.
Gilbert said the town has never been the same.
“The town changed. It has never been the same. The urban development was controversy before the tornado and it really got to be afterwards,” Gilbert said. “Businesses couldn't rebuild because they wanted to do something there and it kind of held the city down for a long time.”
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