At approximately 4 p.m. today, Vermeer Corporation in Pella, Iowa was in the direct path of a tornado. The company suffered significant damage to several plants and the waste management facility on the campus is a complete loss.
During the tornado, more than 400 dealers and customers were onsite to celebrate the company's 70th anniversary. Vermeer CEO Jason Andringa says that as the storm approached employees, dealers and customers were guided to several tornado shelters on the campus. Still, seven people were taken to Pella Regional hospital for minor injuries, according to local emergency officials.
This evening, Andringa gave an update to local media.
There is significant structural damage and property damage across the campus, according to Andringa.
"Plant 4, plant 7 and our advanced system testing facility will need a structural assessment before we can determine the impact of the damage and the ability to continue operations," Andringa said. "Plant 5 and plant 6 both have significant damage that we believe at this time will limit our ability to continue operations. Our waste management facility is a complete loss."
All operations at the facility were closed for the night of July 19 and all day Friday, July 20.
"We've dealt with several challenges during seven decades of doing business and as we've survived them thus far, we plan to do so again," he said.
The Lely North America production facility located on the northeast part of the Vermeer campus received no major damage according to officials with Lely.
Here are pictures posted to several Twitter accounts:
Drone13 captured footage of the damage at Vermeer following the storm in Pella.— Keith Murphy (@MurphyKeith) July 20, 2018
Photos are starting to come in from Pella where the Vermeer plant reportedly took a direct hit from the storm. pic.twitter.com/8ZU1LJ3DbR— WHO-HD Ch. 13 News (@WHOhd) July 19, 2018
The damage at Vermeer Corp. outside Pella. An employee here says “all plants from plant 3 on down are virtually detroyed. Unfortunatly, there has been injuries. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers while we get through this tough time.” #VermeerStrong @KCRG pic.twitter.com/auLw5LnShN— Forrest Saunders (@FBSaunders) July 20, 2018
Photos from above show the magnitude of storm damage sustained by Vermeer Corp. in Pella. https://t.co/YxOIKv1J3n— Des Moines Register (@DMRegister) July 19, 2018
IOWA TORNADO: images coming in from Pella, Iowa (Vermeer Manufacturing Plant) 📷: CREDIT: Elise Beukelman pic.twitter.com/K28bWFSz2D— Ginger Zee (@Ginger_Zee) July 19, 2018
Updated at 10:20 CST on July 19 by Anna-Lisa Laca