There one minute, gone the next: Chetek, Wis. tornado victim tells his story

- At one moment, Ron Belcher was in his kitchen. A few seconds later—after a tornado ripped through—he was outside.

“When I looked up there was no roof, no walls, everything was just sucked out of there,” Ron said from his hospital bed at Lakeview Medical Center in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, He has broken ribs, a broken arm, and gashes all over his body.

Ron, who lived at Prairie Lake Estates, a mobile home park in Chetek, Wis., believes the tornado sent another home on top of his home, and a freezer on top of his body.

“I think what happened was the house next door blew on top of ours, and it smashed all the windows, and that’s when I think I got the deep freeze thrown on top of me,” Ron said. “I covered myself and tried to cover the dog, but then when I looked up there was no roof, no walls, everything was just sucked out of there.”

Ron was one of six victims taken in one ambulance to Lakeview Medical Center. In all, twelve victims would receive treatment at the hospital in Rice Lake.

“A lot of abrasions, lacerations, there were some internal injuries and stuff like that,”  said Mark Manning, the EMS Manager at Lakeview Medical Center.

Manning said more than 70 employees answered a page to head to the hospital and help.

“It was absolutely wonderful to see," he said. "I couldn’t be more proud of the people who work here. Putting everything aside and coming here at a moment’s notice.”

Ron is the only tornado victim who remains hospitalized at Lakeview Medical Center. His brother was transferred to another hospital, along with two other patients.

Nurses at Lakeview Medical Center helped Ron find his two 15-year-old dogs that had gone missing in the storm. The dogs, Taz and Coco, are safe at the Animal Hospital of Chetek.


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