Bern Rebuilds After Tornado

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BERN, Kan. (WIBW) -- Houses were destroyed in less than three minutes when an EF-3 tornado pummeled Bern, Kansas, last June. Many people who live there lost everything, but are now slowly getting back on their feet.

"We came upstairs and I said to the wife, we lost our house," said Bern-resident Vern Grose.

Grose and his wife, Rita, could hear the tornado destroy their home above their heads. Their house was in the direct path of the storm that blew through Bern on the night of June 2nd.

They could've lost their lives that night, but now here they are, three months later, rebuilding better than ever.

"Rita and I, that wasn't on our list of things to do this year, you know, but once it happens you just gotta get started and get going," said Grose.

More than a hundred tons of debris was hauled from the Grose home and now the house is taking shape. A brand new window took the place of a shattered one where Grose stood and watched the storm come in.

"And, I'll be looking out the window again in the future, seeing if the storms are going to hit us," he said. "You heard the rumble and the windows breaking and the walls falling in and the roof going off and you knew it wasn't good."

Other homes, barns, and sheds bore the brunt of the destruction.

"It only took two minutes," recalled Grose. "We talk to neighbors all the time about that night and everybody is doing good. It'll be a while, but everybody's rebuilding back and better than they had before."

The most important thing is everyone is alive to rebuild.

"Once you get by the shock of it and get back into normal life, you realize you were fortunate it didn't hurt you," said Grose.

Looking out onto the countryside view that made this place a home more than 30 years ago, Grose says there's no place they'd rather be.

"Home's here and that's where I want to stay," he said.

And, they hoped to be home by Christmas.

Another home being rebuilt down the street is almost finished.