Wind and Fire Destroys Two Iola Buildings

Two structures in Grimes County were completely destroyed by Saturday's storm. One from high winds, the other by fire.

Just a few hours after flames ripped through an Iola man's home, smoldering ashes is all that remains.

When Hurricane Ike unleashed his wrath, he took with it the town's power, and a man's home.

"In talking to the owner, he had lit candles to use for light in the house after losing power, and he left the house to run some errands," said John Kochan, Iola Volunteer Fire Department's Assistant Chief.

And he made a quick stop at his neighbor's house.

"He came by to talk to me, and we heard sirens coming down the road getting closer. He looked out and saw his house on fire," neighbor Frank Kessinger said.

In fact, it was completely engulfed in flames, and the storm made it even harder for firefighters to put the blaze out.

"It was pretty bad because we were right in the middle of a wave of the storm, so the winds were blowing rather hard and it was a dry wooden structure, so the fire was rolling through the house and the wind was feeding it," Assistant Fire Chief Kochan said.

Just a couple blocks away, mother nature wreaked havoc on another building in this small community, this one had been abandoned for years.

What used to be the town's general store, is now a pile of bricks, thanks to a whipping wind.

"The roof raised up. When it came back down, the walls went out," William Carter recalled.

Carter owns the grocery store next door and couldn't believe Ike's strength.

"It can tear up anything it wants to," Carter said.

A stark reminder of the power of a perfect storm.

No one was injured in either of the buildings.

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