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Pandemic could impact repairs after Coweta tornado

coweta tornado .jpg
Posted at 4:09 PM, Oct 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-12 19:34:20-04

COWETA, Okla.  — Crews are still cleaning up the mess from Sunday night’s tornado that hit Coweta. As the work continues, some say the pandemic may delay the process.

“This is not going to be an overnight thing," said Jason Herskind, emergency loss manager for Disaster Restoration Services. "This is going to take some time.”

READ MORE: EF-1 tornado tore through Coweta, schools cancel classes

Debris still scatters the ground around areas of Coweta. Things like tree limbs, metal siding, and parts of the roof are all around one homeowner's yard. Herskind said much of the debris doesn’t even belong to the house.

“We’re finding sections of pole barns," Herskind said. "They didn’t have a pull barn here. So, asked the neighbors, they didn’t have one. So we’re not sure yet where the pole barn came from.”

Now that the worst is over, the clean-up begins, but it won’t be easy. Herskind said it could take a week just to clear out the debris in the yard before they can even start work inside. And once there, there’s a lot to be done.

“No house is a lego," Herskind said. "Nothing was designed to come off and go back on. So, sometimes we gotta do more damage than what’s there in order to fix what’s behind it.”

Restoration companies are facing issues when it comes to working on projects such as this, many a result of the pandemic. From a labor shortage to not enough supplies even February’s freeze.

“They’re still trying to clean up a lot of stuff from the freeze that we had a few months ago," Herskind said. "A lot of the equipment that we have on jobs and things like that are still sitting on those jobs that we’re trying to finish.”

Because of those setbacks, some homeowners will have to wait a bit longer before getting back to normal.

“In pre-COVID, a job like this probably would’ve been three months from start to finish," Herskind said. "Now, it’s probably going to be more like six to eight months."

Mission Intermediate Grade Center also suffered damage from the tornado. Coweta Public Schools said it's too early to determine when it will allow students back in the building. They expect to release more information later this week.

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