Downed trees and power lines cover  the Broadway and Washington Avenue intersection in Alden Wednesday morning. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune
Downed trees and power lines cover the Broadway and Washington Avenue intersection in Alden Wednesday morning. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Alden recovers from forceful winds

Published 11:38am Thursday, June 19, 2014

ALDEN — Days away from this community’s annual festival, residents are coming together to clean up downed limbs and other debris from severe storms.

Alden City Councilor Kevin Schewe said sometime between 3 and 3:30 a.m. Wednesday he received a phone call that the wind had blown off the roof of his business, Lakeside Auto, and that it was blocking off Minnesota Highway 109. Blown-in insulation was strewn about.

Freeborn County Emergency Management Director Rich Hall said the damage was the result of downburst winds.

Down the street, fallen trees blocked the road in front of Alden-Conger School. Many were without power.

Schewe said later that morning dozens of volunteers arrived and have made the cleanup easier.

“It’s small-town living,” he said.

He hoped to have a new roof put on by the end of the day and then would be able to tackle the damage at his own home a few blocks away.

A crew of Sentence to Service workers could be seen down the street from Lakeside Auto, cleaning up debris near the school.

On Powers Avenue, fallen tree branches lined the streets that residents had picked up from their yards.

Resident Bill Hintz, who is trying to sell  a house at 278 N. Powers Ave., said he arrived on the property at about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday because the electricity was off, and he wanted to make sure the sump pump was working.

When he arrived, he discovered trees on his roof, his shed relocated and his garage damaged.

The side wall of the garage and a portion of the foundation appear pushed out, while the back wall looks pushed in.

“It’s hard to sell a house when it looks like this,” he said.

He joked that he would now be able to tout his land as lakefront property with a field of water in his backyard. His insurance company is already looking into the damage.

Salvation Army volunteers and staff responded to Alden, Maple Island and Albert Lea this week with food and water for emergency responders and residents dealing with power outages, damage and flooding.

According to a news release, the organization had served 200 people through Wednesday evening.

Salvation Army Capt. Jim Brickson said their main job has been providing cold water, sandwiches and snacks. They have also sent out generators.