A Vermeer Corp. manufacturing campus in Pella, Iowa sustained heavy damage after being struck by a tornado Thursday afternoon.
Vermeer facilities were hit by the tornado around 4 p.m. The company said in a statement that, based on an initial assessment, the following facilities had been damaged:
Our corporate office, Plant 1, Plant 2, Plant 3, Parts Distribution Center, Global Pavilion, Lely and Yellow Iron Academy Learning Center appear to have zero to minor damage.
Plant 4, Plant 7 and our Advanced Systems/Testing facility will need a structural assessment before we can determine the impact of the damage and the ability to continue operations.
Plant 5 and Plant 6 both have significant structural damage that we believe, at this time, will limit our ability to continue operations.
Our waste management facility is a complete loss.
The tornado struck during Vermeer's 2018 Customer Conference. More than 400 dealers and customers were onsite at the time, according to the company statement.
Upon being notified of the severe weather, the company activated its emergency response system. Emergency alarms sounded in all buildings and employees, dealers and customers were directed to tornado shelters on the campus. Several people were treated for injuries on-site and at a local hospital, and have since been released.
The 70-year-old company is one of the biggest in Pella, employing more than 2,700 people.
The Des Moines Register has aerial photos depicting the extensive damage. A photo gallery can be found here.