Storm-ravaged nursing home in Belview, Minn., reopens

  • Article by: WARREN WOLFE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 31, 2012 - 9:32 PM

July tornado caused Belview facility to be evacuated.

Seven months after a tornado ripped the roof off a small nursing home in the southwestern Minnesota town of Belview, the first residents will begin moving back in Wednesday.

Of 25 people evacuated to nearby nursing homes, 13 have died and about eight will return to the city-owned Parkview Home in the next several days, said administrator Jim Broich.

It will be several months before the 35-bed facility returns to normal, with about 67 workers back on the job, he said. The roof and some water-damaged interiors had to be replaced, but the attached senior apartments and assisted-living units were unscathed, he said.

"It's been a long struggle -- a real education I wish we hadn't needed," Broich said. "But we're back in business and, overall, we're grateful."

With no power and using cellphones after the storm hit at 4:30 p.m. July 1, a social worker, director of nurses and Broich found beds in three nearby nursing homes. There were no injuries and all residents were evacuated by 7 that evening.

The cleanup and renovation will cost about $750,000, covered by insurance and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Broich said.

The cleanup was complicated by the tornado's timing -- late Friday afternoon, when insurance and building experts were gone for the holiday weekend, and on the first day of a state government shutdown when critical Department of Health officials had been laid off. Another complication was the discovery of asbestos in the 46-year-old brick building, which required special handling, he said.

Belview, a city of 375 people, is 125 miles southwest of the Twin Cities in Redwood County.

Warren Wolfe • 612-673-7253

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