As we enter tornado season, we look back on a particular storm that wasn’t able to destroy everything in its pathway. Kirk Anderson’s story proves the metal building world is more than business. It’s family.
On Tuesday, July 13, 2004, at 2:41 p.m., Parsons Company Inc. in Roanoke, Illinois was hit full-force by an F4-class tornado. Winds in excess of 240 mph brought down all 258,000 square feet of manufacturing buildings and scattered debris for miles. Miraculously, all 150 people working at the plant that day escaped injury thanks to two things: an emergency weather program Parsons Company had in place, and three storm shelters in which employees took refuge.
We at P.J. Hoerr Inc., the builders for Parsons Company Inc., felt the devastation too. We began our relationship with Parsons Company in 1996 with the creation of their first of three Star Buildings – all of which were constructed prior to the tornado. Our company is one of Central Illinois’ premier general contractors, founded in 1914. Parsons Company is a manufacturer of steel fabrications who has been in business since 1971. They were founded and still owned today by Mr. Bob Parsons.
There is a lot of respect between our companies and after the tornado hit, Mr. Parsons was faced with a big decision: either re-build or retire. Out of loyalty to his customers and employees, he decided to re-build. A few days later, he called us and asked if we would assist in the re-construction. We humbly accepted the challenge.
Due to insurance reasons, the project needed to be done in what seemed to be an impossible deadline: all buildings enclosed by December 31, 2004. This meant the existing, flattened, and twisted buildings and equipment had to be removed, foundations had to be assessed and partially reconstructed, and 258,000 square feet of pre-engineered metal buildings had to be erected in five months.
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