As Linwood residents comb through trampled homes, some find small signs of hope

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LINWOOD Kan. – The debris left in the wake of the tornado that ripped through Northeast Kansas on Tuesday spans several miles on the outskirts of town.

Some things in that debris field are almost unbelievable.

“That is my parents king-sized mattress,” Amy Lurken said about the mattress that was carried about 70 yards until it was caught up in a tree. “These are large willow trees that it is over, and there are pieces of it that have impaled the mattress.”

Evidence of the power of the EF-4 tornado is scattered across the landscape.

Several homes along K-32 were taken down to the foundation. At one house, even appliances were sucked up from the basement by the force of the twister.

“I think the washer and dryer are even out here,” Fran Jones said.

She and her husband were hiding in the basement as the tornado flattened their home.

“We were 5 feet from it,” she said. “Neither one of us got a scratch. You have got to believe in God because I do. He saved us.”

Jones, her family, friends and even strangers spent the day after the storm looking for irreplaceable, precious memories in the debris of her house, scattered throughout the neighborhood.

“This is my dog’s, some of her ashes, and I had them on my bedpost and I just never dreamt that we would find them. Somebody found them for me,” Jones said. “That is extremely special. And the rest of her ashes are in a little container, and I hope they find them. But if I don’t, I have some of hers.”

Another thing found in the rubble of the Jones’ house was a bottle of champagne. They see it as a reminder that even having lost so much, they still have plenty to celebrate.

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