Vermeer Plant Suffers Brunt of Tornado Damage in Pella; CEO Says ‘We’re going to come back stronger than ever’

PELLA, Iowa -- The town of Pella was hit by a tornado Thursday afternoon, which caused extensive damage to manufacturing operations at the Vermeer Corporation and injured some of its employees.

The tornado hit around 4:00 p.m. in the midst of a customer appreciation event. More than 400 customers were on site. Add that to the number of employees working, and it totals up to more than 3,000 people who were at the plant when the tornado tore through.

It destroyed two buildings and the waste treatment facility.

Vermeer’s CEO says they are planning to rebuild.

"I'm certainly glad that we have done those drills in the past...and I’m certainly glad that we have put the effort that we have into being prepared for something like this. Pastor Kevin Korver was here immediately, I appreciate him being here...so we're certainly are going to rebuild and we’re going to come back stronger than ever,” said Jason Andringa.

Pella Regional Health Center treated seven patients from Vermeer, all with minor injuries. Everyone was treated and released.

Police are still working to account for all of the Vermeer employees that were working Thursday when the tornado hit.

Though not all of the buildings at the plant were damaged, the plant will be closed Friday.

Vermeer is asking those who have operable vehicles at the site to wait until being notified by them before coming to pick them up.

Amazing video from the site showed dozens of vehicles were destroyed and piled on top of each other by the tornado. There are also several vehicles that were unaccounted for.