The storm’s aftermath in photos
Yesterday, a vicious storm ravaged the St. Louis area. It also passed through Webster Groves and Kirkwood, among other places. Dark clouds swirled above, tornado alarms rang out, fast winds whipped past and the heavens let loose a downpour of rain.
I was working my shift in the darkroom when an instructor rushed in and told me of some of the damage around the area, including a three-alarm fire just blocks away. I grabbed my camera and set off to see the aftermath of the same storm that only hours before I, along with my co-workers, rushed to the windows on the other side of the building to gape at. Mother nature really is a fearsome thing to behold when she’s unruly.
Below are images of the aftermath. Honestly, yesterday was a reminder for me of why I’m pursuing photojournalism. As unfortunate as the event was yesterday, it was rejuvenating for me to go out and shoot and record what I was seeing with my camera. Even though I missed the flames, it was still exciting to be on the scene and talk to these people who endured the storm. One thing in particular really struck me, and has stuck with me. Ken Klinkhardt, the owner of a Webster Groves house that caught fire, and his farewell to me. After talking to Ken and his wife Barb, as well as his sister-in-laws, I went back to him to bid him adieu. I shook his hand, told him it was nice to meet him and mumbled, “I’m sorry.” He didn’t thank me or say anything regarding the tragedy of having to watch his home that he and his wife have owned for 29 years go up in smoke. Instead, he took my hand and congratulated me on graduating college in two weeks. His sincerity was overwhelming.
I couldn’t believe these people were so open to me, my camera and my notepad. They willingly and graciously told me their stories, even after having just suffered losses. God, I love what I do.
Random quotes from the scene:
“It was our dream house,” said Barb Klinkhardt. “Now it’s the nightmare on Tuxedo. We’re fortunate that nobody was hurt. We’re surrounded by friends so I’m hoping we’ll be fine.” Barb joked about the couple’s “dream house” (their names being Ken and Barb and all…). The two moved in after returning from their honeymoon and have lived in the home for 29 years.
“I cannot say enough about smoke detectors. I was the only one at home…Took them (fire department) about 10 to 15 minutes (to arrive). When I called 911, all I got was a ringtone and no answer. The neighbors all called 911,” said Ken Klinkhardt.
“She just redid the kitchen. It was a classic beautiful Webster home with old woodwork,” said Jean Klinkhardt.
“I came back from the library and thought, ‘My house is on fire. My house is on fire’,” said Barb Klinkhardt.
“I haven’t gotten a hold of Ameren. They’ve been busy. Now I’ve got to find someone to take the tree off the roof,” said Kurt Schwind.