WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | Weather

One year this week since the destructive Chili tornado

This dashcam footage shows the EF-2 tornado that hit Roy and Irene Tinkey's home a year ago this week. The Tinkeys live just north of the town of Chili in Clark County.

We brought you the story last year of how they survived the tornado as it moved their home 30 feet off its foundation. I caught up with the Tinkeys after a whirlwind of a year…

They were in the kitchen when it hit. "She said I think I hear hail. Well what she heard was debris hitting the side of the house was really what it was. And then everything...it hit us right then," said Roy Tinkey.

Irene was blown clear into the other room. Roy was forced to dive in a bathroom as the addition of the house collapsed. Then just like that it was over. "She was covered with two foot of debris. And so I picked her up and we come out here and I said Hun, we don’t have a house no more," explained Tinkey.

They were lucky to be alive. "All the trees except 2 went that way and two went this way and when it picked up the house it shoved it in them big trees and stopped the house."

Here’s something interesting. Just a few days ago a bathtub from that trailer was found 3/4 of a mile away in a field by one of their neighbors.
With the help of countless volunteers the Tinkeys cleaned up and moved in to their new house last November.

"I didn't expect that many people to show up and do what they did, and I never had the chance to thank everybody and I kind of get choked up about it. They didn't have to come...they came. They came out of the goodness of their heart, and I’ll remember that till the day I die," says Tinkey.

When they think about that day they're thankful to have each other despite losing most of the mementos of their over 50 year old marriage.
"You can buy a new vehicle. You can build new sheds but that stuff, those memories you had you can't get them back."

For them it's different now when they see a natural disaster on TV. "You say geez that's just terrible that it happened to them, but that's as far as it goes. You're kind of immune to it because you see it on TV all the time. Now, when I see disasters on the TV, it's really personal to me because I know what they're going through."


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