Tornado destroys family’s house and barn near Boscobel

The family is starting to pick up the pieces and rebuild, but they say they are glad everyone made it through safely.
Published: Aug. 7, 2021 at 11:44 PM CDT
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GRANT COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) - Severe storms swept through Grant County Saturday, downing trees and power lines, leaving hundreds without power. According to Grant County Emergency Management, a tornado touched down near the Boscobel city limits and traveled about four miles southeast of the city.

Kathleen Lawver and her husband were visiting their niece and nephew when her nephew saw the tornado touch down across the street.

“Next thing I know my husband said, ‘We need to get inside,’” Lawver remembered.

The two couples took shelter in the pantry, huddling together under the concrete counter.

“We started hearing crashes and bangs,” Lawver described, adding when the roof started to come off, “We were getting insulation in our mouth, coughing and spitting out insulation.”

The storm tore the roof off the garage and parts of the house, stripping some rooms down to just the wood beams. The barn behind the house was also destroyed, and the family’s cow was still missing as of Saturday evening.

Lawver said the tornado probably lasted just a few minutes, but it felt much longer.

“I just remember thinking, I hope it doesn’t last too long, I hope the thing that we’re under doesn’t collapse, saying my prayers,” she said.

When Lawver and the rest of the family finally felt safe enough to come out, they had to make their way through the rubble of the house.

“[My husband] was saying watch out for the boards because they were hanging down with nails hanging out of them and just told me to step where he stepped,” Lawver remembered.

DAMAGING STORMS: We're getting our first look at the damage caused by the storm moving through southern Wisconsin right now. Deidre just sent us these photos from Blue River.

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Lawver said she is devastated for her niece and nephew. The couple rebuilt their house just three years ago after a fire destroyed their first home. They had just finished putting siding on this one shortly before the tornado. However, Lawver said she is just glad they made it out alive.

“I think it was those concrete walls of that pantry probably that saved our lives,” she said, adding, “We’re all talking about it, walking out of the house in one piece and that’s just really what you have to keep thinking about.”

Lawver’s niece and nephew said they have already submitted their insurance claim and are figuring out their next steps.

Initial damage assessments from Grant County Emergency Management show six homes and multiple agricultural buildings destroyed in the area, but no injuries were reported.

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