Vermeer Suffers Major Damage in Tornado Strike

Over 400 extra people were at facility for customer conference, only minor injuries reported

Vermeer Suffers Major Damage in Tornado Strike

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Several buildings suffered massive damage and there were injuries reported after a tornado touched down in Pella, Iowa, directly hitting Vermeer on Thursday, July 19.

The factory, which has about 2,800 employees manufacturing industrial equipment such as directional drills and trenchers, was hit by a tornado around 4 p.m.

“In addition to our team members who were working at that time, over 400 dealers and customers were on site for the 2018 customer conference,” company CEO Jason Andringa said in a press conference. “Upon being notified of severe weather, we quickly activated our emergency response system. The emergency alarms in all buildings and team members, dealers and customers were directed to tornado shelters in all facilities on the Vermeer campus.”

Seven injuries were reported at Pella Regional Health Center. Andringa says those injured have already been released from the hospital.

“The care of our team is our top priority and support resources are available,” Andringa says. “Vermeer chaplains are on call through the Vermeer mainline for any post-care treatment needed.”

Damage seen on the Vermeer campus of one of the manufacturing plants.
Damage seen on the Vermeer campus of one of the manufacturing plants.

Vice President of Operations Vince Newendrop says the east half of the company’s campus, which includes seven manufacturing buildings, sustained extensive damage. There was significant structural damage and personal property damage on the Vermeer damage. Initial assessments show that the corporate office, plant one, plant two, plant three, parts distribution center, Global Pavilion, Lely and Yellow Iron Academy appeared to have zero to minor damage.

“Plants four, seven, and our advanced system testing facility will need a structural assessment before we can determine the impact of the damage and the ability to continue operations,” Andringa added. “Plant five and plant six both have significant structural damage that we believe at this time will limit our ability to continue operations. Our waste management facility is a complete loss.”

Vermeer and Lely are closed today to allow time to assess damage and begin clean up. The Pella Police Department says sections of Vermeer Mile, the road in which the company is located on, will also remain closed by law enforcement.



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