After 'Unimaginable Destruction,' a Family Loses 4 Members

Tornado in Winterset, Iowa, kills grandma, as well as son-in-law, 2 grandkids visiting from Missouri
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2022 7:43 AM CST
3 Family Members Visiting From Mo. Killed in Iowa Tornado
The remains of a home can been seen scattered among debris as cleanup efforts continue in Winterset, Iowa, on Sunday.   (Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP)

The deadly tornadoes that swept through central Iowa over the weekend caused "unimaginable destruction," per Gov. Kim Reynolds. But for one family, the tragedy hit particularly hard, as four members hiding out in a house in Madison County perished during the storm. KMBC reports that 37-year-old Michael Bolger, his 5-year-old son Kinlee, and his 2-year-old son Owen died after the tornado, believed to be at least an EF-3-level twister, touched down in Winterset. The Bolgers were visiting from Missouri. The children's mother, Kuri Bolger, and another son survived the tornado.

Also killed in the home were 63-year-old Melissa Bazley, identified by WHO 13 as Kuri Bolger's mother. Bazley's husband and adult son survived. KETV notes that the survivors made it through by huddling in a pantry in the center of the home. Two neighbors with homes down the street from the Bazley family also died: Rodney Clark, 64, and Cecilia Lloyd, 72. Other neighbors who made it through said the tornado came out of nowhere. "We were outside and I saw the tornado just behind our hill," Josie Beeson tells KETV. "It just popped right over and landed on top of our home. Thankfully we made it downstairs in time."

A GoFundMe for the Bolger family has been set up, with nearly $190,000 raised as of Monday morning. "There will be a long road ahead" for mom Kuri Bolger, who's said to have suffered serious injuries but is now stable, and her surviving son, Brysen, who has already been released from the hospital after being treated for minor injuries, the fundraiser page notes. "Please help however you can during this tragic and challenging time." Meanwhile, in Lucas County, about 55 miles southeast of Des Moines, a tornado plowed through Red Haw State Park in Chariton, Iowa, killing one person in an RV, says the state's Department of Natural Resources, per KMBC. (More tornado stories.)

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