Strong Winds Cause House Collapse in Walford

Jul 17, 2016

Powerful winds swept through Eastern Iowa in Sunday morning’s predawn darkness, collapsing a house on four people in Walford and ripping the roof from a Vinton apartment building.

Linn County sheriff’s deputies, responding to emergency calls, found Brett Gioimo, 27, trapped inside a pile of rubble that had been his home. He was transported to a hospital.

Ashlee Shill, 28, and two children aged three and four years old were also in the house when it collapsed, but were not injured.

Sunday afternoon, work crews were on the roofs of several neighboring houses, nailing large plastic sheets over gaping holes. Sheriff’s deputies were blocking access to the neighborhood.

Walford is located near the Cedar Rapids airport, about half-way between Cedar Rapids and the Amana Colonies.

Walford mayor, Randy Bauer, says several houses must be evaluated before they can be inhabited again. He says, “four have suffered severe structural damage, and another four or five have some element of damage such as a roof gone or siding missing.”  He says although other areas of Walford have tree damage, the house damage is concentrated in a two-to-three block area.

Sunday morning, strong winds also roared through Vinton, about 30 miles west of Cedar Rapids, ripping the roof from the Imperial Apartments and damaging homes in the area. The Red Cross is providing emergency housing and food for Vinton residents whose homes were damaged.