A tornado touched down north of Firestone early Monday evening, damaging homes and property and narrowly avoiding the Fort St. Vrain Generating Station before dissipating near Platteville.
Platteville resident Gerald Rusch was sitting in the kitchen of his mother’s house talking with her when he heard pops of lightening outside. It looked like the feedlot a half mile down the road was on fire with billows of black smoke, and then he realized it was a tornado.
“We got to the center of the house, laid down on the floor and hoped for the best,” he said. “It didn’t take the house. I was expecting the roof to be gone.”
The National Weather Service office in Boulder received two reports of a funnel cloud forming at 5:07 p.m. and sent out a tornado warning. The tornado touched down near Weld County Road 19 and Colo. 66 and moved northeast toward County roads 21 and 32½, said Weld County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Joe Moylan.
One home was damaged in a fire caused by downed powerlines, along with other property and land. There were no reports of injuries, but Moylan said an unknown number of calves were lost a dairy north of Firestone at county roads 26 and 19.
The tornado passed close by the Fort St. Vrain Generating Station, Moylan said, before dissipating near the South Platte River. Weld County Road 21 between CR 32½ and Colo. 66 was closed Monday night.
Rusch said he recently remodeled his mother’s house on County Road 21. Now all of the windows are shattered and there are holes in the walls, including one created by a 300-gallon fuel tank thrown by the twister from a neighboring property.
Three outbuildings are gone and one landed on top of Rusch’s brother’s car. A shipping container that was next to Rusch’s vehicle is now on top of it.
Rusch said all he cares about is that no one was hurt or killed in the tornado. Workers from companies he contracts with have already sent out employees to help with the clean up.
“I didn’t realize how many friends I had until now,” he said, voice thick with emotion.