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Putting the pieces back together: Madill businesses begin rebuilding after enduring extensive damage from tornado

Sierra Rains
srains@ardmoreite.com
The Oklahoma Steel and Wire plant in Madill sustained extensive damage from an April 22 tornado. Employees are currently working to restore the plant piece by piece.

Employees at the Oklahoma Steel and Wire plant in Madill only had a brief window of time to shelter as a tornado tore through the town at around 5 p.m. on April 22.

Designated storm protection areas located throughout the plant sheltered employees from the storm and no Oklahoma Steel and Wire employees were injured or killed.

However, the structure itself took a direct hit from the tornado, leaving around 60% of the Oklahoma Steel and Wire buildings badly damaged, said Oklahoma Steel and Wire Executive Vice President David Weinand.

The family-owned manufacturing company is now in the process of picking up the pieces and rebuilding the plant, but there is currently no estimate on how long the process will take.

“We are maintaining our employment and many of our people are involved in the clean up process and will be involved in the restoration process as we go forward,” Weinand said, adding that the plant will be restored one piece at a time.

It is still too early to have a full assessment of the property damage, but at least 70% to 85% of production normally produced by the plant is out of commission due to the extensive damage.

“Most of our raw material processing area that actually makes the wire is out of commission at this moment,” Weinand said.

However, the Oklahoma Steel and Wire plant is still able to have limited production. Four welding machines used to make concrete reinforcement or agricultural panels are in operation on the far side of the property that was not impacted as directly by the storm.

The Marshall County and steel community have shown an outpouring of support as employees work to install new roof structures and restore the plant.

Weinand said several companies have provided the workers with food including 2 Cajuns Southern Cuisine, which came out on Wednesday, April 29 to set up a food truck and feed employees.

Other organizations, such as Air Systems and Pump Solutions and Blue Cross and Blue Shield have helped share in the cost and Kingston Car Care provided employees with 240 Subway sandwiches.

“We’ve been very appreciative of our neighbors for stepping forward and helping us out at this time,” Weinand said.

The Oklahoma Steel and Wire plant’s sister company, Mid-American Steel and Wire, was also in the line of the tornado but received minimal damage.

The J&I Manufacturing plant sustained extensive damage, but has not released any additional information at this time. A representative said the plant is planning to re-open on Monday, May 4.

“This is a rather major challenge to our entire group and I would say that our team is stepping forward to restore the operations as quickly as possible,” Weinand said. “We appreciate all the good will we’re receiving from the community and our neighbors in the process and we intend to get back to operations as quickly as possible.”