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94-year-old Taopi woman survives tornado; destroyed childhood home

Norma Kiefer(KTTC)

TAOPI, Minn. (KTTC) – “It’s a very difficult day. I can’t get home. It’s quite sad. I’ve been there 72 years,” said 94-year-old Norma Kiefer.

Tuesday night’s EF-2 tornado left her home in pieces.

“All my children were born there. I have ten children, and they were all born there. It’s the only house they know. It’s sad that he’s gone now. It’s a sad moment,” she said.

Despite his loss, Kiefer kept a smile on his face.

“I didn’t expect something like this to happen, but I guess that’s life,” she said.

Norma's house after the tornado
Norma’s house after the tornado(KTTC)

Kiefer said she was grateful to be alive.

“It’s a miracle that everyone has experienced this. Because if I stayed home, I wouldn’t be here,” she said.

Kiefer’s daughter Mary is the town’s mayor.

“My daughter came to pick me up,” she said.

Kiefer said she was sheltering in her home when the storm started.

“I had been in the basement and was coming back from the basement and my window and my laundry room blew the steps off and at that point Mary was coming to pick me up,” Kiefer said.

Kiefer and his family are grateful that the community has come together to help those whose homes were damaged by the tornado.

“We stay here. We are attached to our city. Everyone helps us dig in and come up with a plan,” said Mary Huntley, Kiefer’s daughter. “The worst thing is that we probably lost 8-10 houses, 8-10 structures that probably can’t be repaired.”

Mary’s house was the least damaged in town. It serves as a command center where people can get food, water and rest.

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