After a tornado destroyed their home, Christiana family is building safety into new home plans


John Erdmann’s house took a direct hit from the Christiana Tornado on November 5, 2018. He was watching News 2 and when the tornado got close, John and his wife and son took shelter in their bathroom downstairs. 

Today he would say he was not prepared. He said, “I didn’t bring anything. I was still in my pajamas and slippers. The only thing I had was my cell phone and my computer. And then my son got his computer for school. That was it. As far as that we were not prepared.”

He also was not prepared for what he would see when he came out of the bathroom and the very next day. He said, “Everything was scattered. There was a lot of water because the third floor had been ripped off so all the pipes had ruptured.”

It wasn’t just the house. His silo had been damaged, his greenhouse flattened, and his barn roof and wall were gone. However, his neighbors helped them clean up in the coming days, weeks, and months.

After all of that, they decided they wanted to rebuild in the same spot because as John says, “It has been in my wife’s family for 7 generations. We bought the house from a cousin in ’03 and we built the house. We deconstructed the log cabin and then put it back together. It’s family.”

It will be different this time. It will be a single story 2000 square foot home versus the large 3-story house they had.  And they have thought about a safety spot. John says, “I talked to the framer and he is going to put in some extra studs and put the walls in 3/4 inch wood around the entire closet and closest room for my wife to navigate into… yes it is in the center of the house. No windows and bathrooms will be on both sides.”

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