People injured, and homes destroyed and damaged after tornado hits Baker, Mont.

BAKER, Mont. — An unknown number of people were injured, at least two homes were destroyed and as many as a dozen others were damaged after a tornado struck the east side of Baker just before 7 p.m. Saturday.

Dean Butori, the Fallon County deputy director of emergency services, said it’s believed the tornado touched down inside the southeast Montana city of about 1,900 people. Baker is about 15 miles from the North Dakota border and 100 miles southwest of Dickinson.

The damage, while not widespread, was significant.

“I’ve lived here my whole life. It’s the worst destruction I’ve seen,” said Steve Baldwin, a Fallon County commissioner and Baker resident was is acting as the Department of Emergency Services spokesperson.

A photo of the tornado that struck Baker, Mont., on Saturday evening. (Submitted photo)
A photo of the tornado that struck Baker, Mont., on Saturday evening. (Submitted photo)

Baldwin said he didn’t know how many people were injured or hospitalized, but “everyone is accounted for.”

“We’re just getting ready to go in and do a second assessment here, just to double check everything,” he said shortly after 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

Baldwin said electricity is out on the east side of Baker and that landline telephones are down.

He said at least seven homes were confirmed to have sustained significant damage. Two were destroyed and roofs were pulled off of at least five, he said. He said it’s very likely that others are also damaged.

“I was just right at the center of it there — the part that got hit the worst,” he said.

Baldwin said everyone is thankful no one was killed in the tornado because of the amount of activities taking place. Not only was Little League baseball being played at the time, the Montana High School Rodeo Association State Finals were being held not far from where the tornado tore apart homes.

Lori Hall, an off-duty 911 dispatcher who lives on the east side of Baker, said she saw the tornado form outside of the front door of her home and then watched as it hit her neighbors houses.

“The whole house is gone,” Hall said of one home not far from her own. “The neighbors dug them out. They were the first ones to be rescued.”

Hall said she saw an RV camper be lifted off the ground and get sent airborne by the storm, and watched as a horse fought to run against the high winds. She added that she later saw the same horse safe with its handler.

Emergency responders from Bowman County, N.D., and other neighboring Montana counties were called in to assist their Fallon County and Baker counterparts, Baldwin said.

The first report of the tornado was at 7 p.m., according to Todd Chambers, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Billings, Mont.

Chalmers said the tornado was relayed to them by a storm spotter four miles to the east of Baker.

He said a more accurate time of impact may be around 6:55 p.m. Chalmers said he viewed video and photos of the tornado impacting the town.

More information about the strength and the path of the tornado will become clear Sunday, he said. The National Weather Service is sending a team to Baker to collect data.

Chalmers said the storm system moved northeast to the Montana-North Dakota line, but it is unknown if it caused any further damage.

Photo submitted by Lori Hall
Photo submitted by Lori Hall

Derek Smith, a storm chaser from Oklahoma, said he got to Baker after the tornado had gone through.

“It was very confined. It’s very sporadic. It’s freaky how they work,” said Smith, who works for Live Storms Media. “One home was destroyed (but) the outbuilding, a metal shed, was totally unharmed with a lawnmower in it.”

Baker resident Dean Wang, who was working at the rodeo, said it was evacuated as contestants and spectators were taken to a storm shelter underneath the grandstand.

Wang said he watched as the tornado “touched down over (Lake Baker) and damaged several homes on the east side of town.”

He said the second round of the rodeo finals were suspended for the evening and will resume at 7 a.m. Sunday, but only if there is an ambulance available to be on scene. If not, Wang said the rodeo may have to be delayed further.

Bringing back Bailey: Couple reunites with lost golden retriever 2 months after she went missing in Oil Patch

Luke Rodenbough, of Blaisdell, and Staci Moore, of Dickinson, sit with their dog, 13-month-old golden retriever Bailey, on the steps outside of their Dickinson apartment building on Wednesday. They reunited with Bailey on Monday after the dog went missing Jan. 27 near Parshall. (Dustin Monke/The Dickinson Press)
Luke Rodenbough, of Blaisdell, and Staci Moore, of Dickinson, sit with their dog, 13-month-old golden retriever Bailey, on the steps outside of their Dickinson apartment building on Wednesday. They reunited with Bailey on Monday after the dog went missing Jan. 27 near Parshall. (Dustin Monke/The Dickinson Press)

Bailey can be a handful.

A loveable, smiling and prancing handful of soft, golden fur.

On Wednesday afternoon, the 13-month-old purebred golden retriever — still very much a puppy at heart — tore around a Dickinson apartment. She played with her toys, teased a cat and nuzzled up to whoever would pet her.

Bailey was happy. She was home.

It was a welcome and relieving sight for her owners, Luke Rodenbough, of Blaisdell, and his girlfriend, Staci Moore, of Dickinson.

A little more than two months ago, Rodenbough thought he had lost Bailey forever.

The dog he had raised, trained and loved since he got her last May as an 8-week-old pup disappeared Jan. 27 after he had taken her to a job site near Parshall.

“We just couldn’t find her,” he said.

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An eventful day in the mountains

A selfie while riding four-wheeler in the mountains.

When we visit my wife’s parents in Montana, there’s nothing we like to do more than to load up her dad’s four-wheelers and head to the nearby mountains to do a little off-roading and motorized mountain climbing.

Growing up on a southwest North Dakota farm, I know a little something about isolation. But honestly, it doesn’t compare to being on a remote mountain, 25 miles from the nearest city and six miles from the nearest ranch — with the only way in or out being a rocky, five-foot wide trail — that gives one a true sense of seclusion.

This time, however, that seclusion nearly got the best of us. No, we didn’t have some sort of injury or major mishap. Just comical misfortune that delayed a wonderful day.

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Enough is enough with Keystone XL

Keystone XL pipes lay in wait at a railyard outside of Scranton in July 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve always wondered about the people who protest certain topics. Are they really that upset? Does everything rile them up that much? Does somebody pay these people to protest? Is this their job?

Lately, every time there is political movement on the Keystone XL pipeline, there’s an environmental activist group there with a protest — though we don’t get to see it because the protests usually only take place in a coastal California city like San Francisco or Los Angeles, and, of course, Washington, D.C. Both places are so far from where the proposed pipeline would go that one has to wonder why people would protest for something they’ve likely never seen in a place they’ve likely never been nor ever plan to go.

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