Sioux Falls Tornado Damages Avera Health Complex

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A number of Avera Health’s facilities fell victim to last night’s severe weather.

Avera’s Behavioral Health Center, heart hospital, sports dome, and the corporate office all suffered heavy damage and because the storm was moving so fast, staff members had limited time to safely relocate all of their patients.

Last night’s chaos has turned into a day of revealing the immense damage that’s been done.

With the storm moving in so quick, Avera McKennan Hospital President and CEO David Flicek says their staff had only 10 minutes to wake up and safely relocate about 102 patients.

“We had seven people who had some minor injuries from some roof coming in on them but nothing severe. So, we’re happy with that. All are safe and sound,” said Flicek.

At the Behavioral Health Center, he says it’s completely un-occupiable.

“Avera Behavioral Health, severe damage, every floor. One corner office really got decimated there so we’re going to look at that… And the corporate office is closed. So, they had their atrium windows, some of them blew out as well,” said Flicek.

Flicek said the Behavioral Health Hospital will most likely not be open for another three to six months. At the Avera Heart Hospital, outer signage is torn from the building and scattered throughout the area. Employee cars, damaged from the storm, can still be seen sitting outside of the hospital.

“This is the worst tornado I’ve ever seen and I couldn’t be more proud of the way this wonderful community responded,” said Avera Heart Hospital CEO Mick Gibbs.

Despite the severe weather, Gibbs says they never stopped operations, “and in the middle of the tornado, we had a patient who had a severe cardiac event and had his life saved right in the middle of the tornado.”

Gibbs said the heart hospital is working hard to get the building ready to take patients as soon as tomorrow and full operations by next week.

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