SPARTA, Wisconsin (WXOW) ----- "You know how they say how a freight train sounds? It didn't sound like that....not at all." Danika Kast was within 3 feet of a tornado before it veered off in another direction. "I was scared. To this day my son is still scared that ones gonna hit."
As Danika recalls the details of that day you can still see the fear in her eyes. "They sounded the sirens about 15 minutes before it hit and when I saw it down by Brenengen Chevy I ran for the house." She was followed by a young girl she didn't know. That girl asked if she could come in. 6 people took shelter in Danika's basement as debris flew all over the neighborhood and to give you and idea of the extreme nature of the winds look at this piece of plywood that's lodged deep into the asphalt siding of this home.
Danika no longer lives in that home but she still lives in Sparta just up the street from Ruth Brueggeman who wasn't home when the storm hit but remembers the drive down the street like it was yesterday. "A lot of trees that were taken up by the roots. I mean big trees. There was a house down the street that was totally demolished but then they put up a new one. There was a lot of damage in this area. I can't describe what it looked like. I mean. It looked like a war zone had gone through here."
Today Sparta is much different except for a few homes that still need work and a few tree stumps things one year later are back to normal. The community that was already close says they have a few extra friendships thanks to the storm. "Everyone just came together. And by the next morning, all the trees in this area were all cut up and dragged out to the curb. It was amazing to see how quickly people cleaned up the mess."
And as for that stick that was lodged in the side of a garage, it's fixed. But on the inside there is still a mark-much like the one left on the hearts and minds of the people of Sparta. So one year later where are the people of Sparta? Ruth says, "I can tell you that if the sirens go off people are looking now and they're paying attention.
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