By Jeff Wagner

BARRON COUNTY, Wis. (WCCO) – It’s been roughly 48 hours since Friday night’s destructive storm tore through western Wisconsin, knocking out power for thousands of residents. Many are crossing their fingers they won’t have to spend a third night in the dark.

Across Barron County, utility companies were hustling to get electricity back online. One crew was based in Illinois when it got the call to head north to Turtle Lake, much to the delight of homeowner Arveda Kirk.

“Holy moly, I wanted to hug that man. He said we’re gonna work as hard as we can to get it going, thank you,” Kirk said.

The past two days have been spent cleaning brush in the yard after trees toppled, uprooted and snapped around her home.

“We could see things hitting the side of the house, and then there was this huge crash and lights went out and everything went, but nobody got hurt,” Kirk said.

The lack of injuries is the one saving grace for most. The storm peeled back the roof of one auto repair shop, it ripped the cover off a steel shed and tossed metal across roads in Barron – a community that weathered the heartache of Jayme Closs’s abduction and the murder of her parents.

The sheriff warned homeowners to be wary of tree trimming companies looking to take advantage of storm victims, but some were already taking matters into their own hands.

“You don’t expect to see the amount of damage done by the wind,” Ryan Sicora said.

Sicora originally planned to head to Duluth Sunday, but Mother Nature’s wrath on his uncle’s property at Upper Turtle Lake changed things.

“They always have us up here for all the holidays, so I said cancel the plans, we’re gonna go help the family out,” Sicora said. “I’ve got my mom over there, she’s raking up leaves. I’ve got my cousins on the John Deere, my dad in a tree,” Sicora said.

It’s not the typical family get together at the cabin.

“At least we don’t have to pay for firewood,” Sicora said.

But it’s one they’re sure to remember, especially with their new treeless view of the water.

“Now it feels like it’s open – no privacy,” Sicora said.

Jeff Wagner

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