Three homes considered unsafe, unlivable after Muscatine tornado

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MUSCATINE, Iowa - The city of Muscatine has condemned three homes following last week’s EF-2 tornado

LeRoy Brookhart, 83 built his home back in 1962. Since living in his home off Angle Street, two tornadoes have missed his home by a block.

But last week’s storm was different.

“When I heard the roar of the storm I moved to where I thought I was safe,” recalls Brookhart.

Brookhart says he watched the storm radar on television and heard the sirens go off. He immediately head to his basement with only a bottle of water and his cell phone.

“I heard all kinds of sounds. Some I don't care to hear again like the snapping and cracking,” said Brookhart.

When the storm passed Brookhart remembers coming up from the basement worried about what he might see.

When he arrived upstairs he found water overflowing onto his microwave, stove and floor. Cracks also spread across the ceiling mimicking the shatters of glass on some windows. His roof also caved in.

Because of the cracks and bowing roof, the city considers Brookhart's home and two other homes in Muscatine unsafe and unlivable. The city visited the properties shortly after the storm and assessed structural damage, claiming safety as the reason for condemning the homes.

Brookhart’s shed also toppled over and is teetering beside the river. His rental home next door also suffered damage to the roof and needs new siding.

“I’m in a fog. There are so many things to do and I can't figure out what I want to do next,” said Brookhart.

It could be three to four months before Brookhart can live inside again but he will do what he can to save the house he and his wife made a home.

She passed away last year.

“It’s been a rough year but she's in a better place now,” added Brookhart.

Construction on Brookhart's home begins March 15, 2017. Insurance and contractors say it could cost between $65,000 and $125,000 to fix.

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