Whitehall area residents clean up after severe weather strikes


Whitehall area residents clean up after severe weather strikes (09/06/13)

WHITEHALL, Mont. - The storm that hit Whitehall damaged buildings, uprooted trees, even blew an airplane hangar onto the interstate. We went to Whitehall to get the facts and learn just how hard residents were hit.

"Never seen nothing like this done to me." Dean Bowen grew up in the Whitehall area. He says he's been through his share of severe thunderstorms.

"We just figured it was going to be a windy rain storm," says Bowen.

Just as Bowen and his girlfriend finished closing all of the windows, he felt his trailer start to move.

"All of a sudden, all I could feel was the house slide and then picked up and my gun case went from one wall to the other," explains Bowen.

We spotted part of Bowen's roof on the other side of a nearby fence.

His cousin showed us where the front door used to sit.

Bowen explains, as the trailer flipped, he got knocked out. When he came to, he found a hole on either side of his home.

"Back of the house was mangled up where I couldn't get out of there," explains Bowen.

He tells us he found the closet and climbed through. Immediately, he began searching for his girlfriend.

"I guess she was yelling but I couldn't hear her, so I thought something bad might have happened...I never thought I'd be that, I guess you call it being afraid," Bowen tells us.

With the help of his cousin, Bowen found his girlfriend and took her to the hospital. She has a broken foot.

Now, Bowen and his cousin's wife Pam salvage what they can.

"It'll be a lot of work," he says.

We heard about down trees in other parts of the area, so we went to check it out and found Whitehall Public Works Director Jerry Ward. He tells us he and his crew had been working close to four hours when we arrived.

"Just around town, there's about five or six trees down but a lot of branches so, there's a lot of cleanup," says Ward.

They're using an old garbage truck to haul away debris.

"It's almost full already," Ward says.

As for Dean Bowen... "Come up with the money to buy a new trailer house before winter," he says.

Bowen tells us the Red Cross has put him up in a motel for a couple of nights but until he finds a new place to live, he says he'll stay with his cousin.

A relief fund had been set up for Bowen and his girlfriend Jackie at the Bank of Butte.

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