Denning Still Rebuilding Four Years After Tornado

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DENNING (KFSM) -- A new City Hall will soon be built in Denning after a tornado four years ago devastated the town.

May 24/25th, 2011 was the first time since February 2008 an EF-4 tornado stuck our area. The tornado hit Etna, Denning and eventually northern Johnson County killing three people and destroying many homes.

It's a night Denning resident Randy Harris remembers vividly.

"It was a horrible sound," Harris said. "You could just hear stuff breaking, and cracking, and popping."

A tree fell on top of Harris' storm shelter trapping his family.

"I tried to open the door, and I couldn't get it open," Harris said. "I could see limbs out the crack, and it took four of us to push the door open to where I could just crawl out and go get a saw."

All 14 people huddling underground were eventually able to crawl to safety and survey the damage. Harris' roof, front porch, and carport all had to be replaced.

"I was luckier, more fortunate than some because some lost everything they had."

Today, there are few remnants of the storm that caused so much damage. Denning has a new water department, a new community center that doubles as a storm shelter, and soon a new City Hall will be built.

"Right beside our storm shelter, we're going to build a new City Hall because ours was destroyed in the storm," Harris said.

Harris is also an alderman in the town. He said construction on City Hall is expected to get underway as soon as the wet weather moves out allowing crews to begin building. Once construction starts, he said it's expected to take about four months to complete.