Families struggling to rebuild after May tornado

Published: Aug. 14, 2019 at 4:46 PM CDT
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Getting ready to go to bed is a normal nightly routine.

For the Chenoweth family, that routine this summer has been anything but normal.

"Right now, my wife and I live in our RV," Nathan Chenoweth said. "We've been there since May 22."

On May 22, an EF-1 tornado hit the sleepy town of Eldon and traveled more than 30 miles to Jefferson City. It damaged hundreds of homes, including the Chenoweth's on South Grand Avenue.

It pulled off the siding on the home, ripped off gutters, and damaged the roof, allowing water to get inside and leave mold in the home.

"I got black mold growing on the ceiling in here," Chenoweth showed

KY3/KSPR's Andrew Havranek.

Chenoweth and his wife Brooke's insurance policy with State Farm paid about $56,000 for that damage.

But, the Chenoweth family says State Farm isn't covering the biggest issue.

"It's all gone to hell in a hand basket if you ask me," Chenoweth said.

Chenoweth said when the tornado hit, he was told the closed windows on his home caused a vaccum-like effect.

"The house actually kind of lifted, and when it sat back down, it sat really hard," Chenoweth explained.

The weight of the home is now causing the foundation to crack. But, Nathan said State Farm agents told him they won't cover the damage to the foundation, saying it was caused by water, not the tornado.

"If they would've been out here three days after the tornado, there would've been no water damage," Chenoweth said. "We have a lot of water damage now too, but two and a half months, two months after when he finally showed up, there's a lot of water damage."

Now, the family is trying to figure out how to come up with almost $40,000 to fix the foundation of their home and get back to a sense of normalcy.

"People, make sure you check your insurance policies, because if it's not me, it's somebody else they're trying to do this to," Chenoweth said. "Right now, my wife and I are trying to figure out how we're going to do this, and we don't know yet."

The Chenoweths say they are trying to work with FEMA for funding. They're also trying to work with contractors to help, but aren't having much luck.


reached out to State Farm, and a media representative responded with a statement via email.

The statement reads:

"We’re unable to speak to the specifics of a claim due to our customer privacy policy. Generally speaking, during the claims process involving possible structural damage due to a storm, structural engineers are typically consulted. These experts can help determine damage caused by the storm and may also identify pre-existing issues that are not storm related. Pre-existing issues would not be covered under a claim. If a customer does not agree with our evaluation, we are always open to review and will consider any additional information they have to help us evaluate our decision.

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