Tornado touches down in Firestone; no apparent injuries

Two homes destroyed; damage estimated at $500,000

Steve Smith
Posted 6/7/21

FIRESTONE -- A tornado touched down in Firestone late June 7. It caused damage to businesses and property, blew over some power lines and dislodged at least one piece of plywood but didn't cause any …

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Tornado touches down in Firestone; no apparent injuries

Two homes destroyed; damage estimated at $500,000

Posted

FIRESTONE --  Weld County officials said the June 7 tornado that started in Firestone caused about $500,000 to businesses and property during its trek through parts of southwest Weld County.

            Two homes, amounting to $429,000 in damage, were destroyed. Three other homes sustained damage to at least 50 percent of the structure, according to county officials. The cost of the damage to those homes is a bit more than $100,000.

The tornado also hit two businesses, a feedlot and a dairy. Weld County officials said a fire from a downed power line destroyed one building at the feedlot. The other building loss was the direct result of the tornado. Damage to the dairy was limited to roofs and outbuildings.

County officials said the tornado traveled about six miles and was on the ground for about a half-hour. The tornado also blew over some power lines and dislodged at least one piece of plywood that sailed into a tree No people were injured, but two cattle at a local dairy farm died.

The large tornado dropped down near Weld County roads 19 and 28 shortly after 5 p.m. A family driving home from the class 4A regional golf tournament in Greeley had to turn around on U.S. Highway 85 and wait out the storm in a place of safety.

"I was in the house," said resident Mark McKinney. "A buddy I work with lives up the road. He called me and said there was a tornado over top of the house. It just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger."

The storm continued northeast, damaging the Cottonwood Dairy on WCR 26  and continuing on toward Platteville. A storm chaser said two cows died.

"Once it left here, it stayed on the ground for probably 20 minutes," McKinney said.

There was no damage to McKinney's home. Down the street, the tornado impaled a large piece of plywood into a tree.

"We were just sitting in the living room. We came out, and it was literally right here," McKinney said from in front of his property on WCR 28. "We watched it come through. It didn't sound like a tornado. It looked more like a dirt devil. But then it intensified, and then there was thunder lightning. it must have lasted 25 minutes."

"It was terrifying," said Karyn Weiner, whose home was in the path of the tornado when it started. "I was at my kids' school over in Frederick, picking them up and bringing them home.  I was backing out, saw the tornado out my back window. Then I hopped out and took a video."

Her house survived, but her outbuildings did not.

"We lost a lot of trees," she said. "There's a job site just south of us. Their trailer is up against our house. It's about 10 feet away from the house. I don't know how it didn't get into our house. There's plywood up in the trees."

Weiner said the tornado looked like a land spout at first.

"I got a really cool picture of it from far away," she said. "It looked so tiny. I didn't think it would do that much damage. It was just a baby. But it sat for four or five minutes."

McKinney's wife, Sandy, said they went to the front door once they learned about the tornado.

"Then the alarm went off afterward," she said. "We never had an alarm until it was to the neighbors, and she said she didn't get an alarm either. It happened so fast. In the house, you couldn't hear anything until it was right in front of the house."

The National Weather Service rated the tornado as an EF-1 on the Fujita scale with winds of 99 mph. The storm was on the ground for 7 miles and was 50 yards wide in places. It started two miles northeast of Firestone and ended three miles northwest of Platteville.

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