Couple recovering after being trapped under basement wall during tornado

Published: Apr. 16, 2022 at 8:36 PM CDT
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TAOPI, Minn. (KTTC) – A Taopi couple is recovering after a wall collapsed on top of them during an EF2 tornado Tuesday night. Thomas Kasel and Jewel Andree were taking shelter in their basement when their house shifted off its foundation, trapping them in the basement.

“I remember the wall coming. I thought it was over,” Thomas said.

Andree was able to escape, calling 9-1-1 and Kasel’s brother Gary who lives a mile south of his farm to come and help free Thomas.

“They were getting rain dumped on them in that basement. Pinned, hurt, dirt, you name it. It was ugly,” Gary said.

Gary says the house looked unstable, but that didn’t stop him from going to get his family.

“One big thing that hit me when I went in that basement was, is this house gonna stay or is this house gonna fall? Don’t know. But I guess I didn’t care at that point because if it was gonna fall, Tom was still in there, Jewel was still in there,” he said.

Meanwhile, the rest of the family, was anxiously waiting to find out what happened.

“Worry for my parents, not knowing if they were even alive or how hurt they were, and then I guess it kind of flipped to well that’s our house and our memories are in there,” Thomas’s daughter Ashley Kasel said.

Both Thomas and Andree experienced several injuries during the storm. Andree broke her pelvis, several ribs and dislocated her hip. Thomas fractured two ribs, developed a blood clot on his lung and a hematoma on his left leg. Thomas was released from the hospital Friday night. Andree is still at Mayo Clinic recovering from surgery.

Thankfully, the couple survived the storm, but the house and most of the farm was a total loss.

“Lots of loss inside the house. Things blown out of the house, literally gone,” Thomas said

But despite this tragedy, the family and the entire town of Taopi are coming together to rebuild this community.

“I’ve got some pains, but I’m coping. Looking forward to moving on and rebuilding. We’ll rebuild. A lot of good people helping pick up, and we appreciate everyone who is and has,” Thomas said.

“That community, family support, human nature the kindness of human nature really got us through,” Gary said.

“Some of the community were here cleaning up the hard and they did a lot of that for us while we were able to spend time with our family, so we thank them,” Ashley said.

The community of Taopi has created a a benefit account to aid in Tom and Jewel’s medical and rebuilding expenses. Donations can be dropped off or mailed to the United Farmers State Bank of Adams. Checks can be made out to Tom Kasel/Jewel Andree Relief Fund or United Farmers State Bank with “Tom/Jewel” in the memo of the check. The address of the bank is P.O. Box 354 Adams, MN 55909.

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