CHETEK, Wis. (KMSP) - Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald has identified the man killed in Tuesday night's tornado that hit Chetek, Wisconsin as 45-year-old Eric Gavin. A neighbor told Fox 9 that Gavin was found in a tree.
Ronald Blomberg lives next door to Eric Gavin, the tornadoes lone fatality. Says Eric was discovered in a nearby tree. pic.twitter.com/doA0q6p4vD— Jack Highberger (@JackHighberger) May 17, 2017
The tornado that struck the Prairie Lake Estates mobile home park off Highway 53 destroyed many of the 50 to 60 homes on the property. According to the sheriff, 17 people were transported to the hospital and 5 to 10 others had minor injuries. At this time, all residents of the mobile home park have been accounted for.
Chetek, Wisconsin tornado: One dead, 27 injured at mobile home park
First responders could hear the voices of people trapped inside their homes when they arrived at the scene, packing six people into a single ambulance in one instance to transport victims to the hospital.
"That one ambulance had 6 people in it,” Sheriff Fitzgerald said Tuesday night.
The sheriff said that in his more than 20 years of law enforcement, he has never seen storm damage like this.
The Barron County Sheriff’s Office will continue its damage assessments on Wednesday. The National Weather Service will be in the area to confirm the tornado touchdown and determine its strength. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will be in Chetek on Wednesday afternoon to tour the damage, including a visit to Prairie Lake Estates.