ROGERS, Minn. – A 10-year-old girl died after a house collapsed on her when severe storms swept through Rogers, damaging hundreds of homes and scattering debris across the city, officials said Sunday.
The girl was at a neighbor's house with her 19-year-old brother at about 10 p.m. Saturday, when the house collapsed on her, Police Chief Keith Oldfather said.
Oldfather got an aerial view of the damage Sunday morning.
"It's more severe than we thought," he said, adding that between 200 and 300 homes sustained "pretty significant damage."
The damage was still being assessed Sunday morning, and Gov. Tim Pawlenty was also expected to view the area. The storm ripped through homes and buildings, downed power lines and blew roofs and garage doors off of houses.
"It just came out of nowhere and really did a lot of damage," he said.
At one point, Xcel Energy reported 10,000 customers without power in Rogers.
The storm also injured seven other people. Two remained hospitalized Sunday morning with injuries that were not life-threatening, WCCO-AM reported.
The National Weather Service planned to view the damage to determine whether it was caused by a tornado or straight-line winds.
When the storm hit, the 10-year-old girl was with her 19-year-old brother, who was baby-sitting two neighbor boys: 12-year-old Ryan Heibel and his little brother, 6-year-old Jakob.
Ryan Heibel told the Star Tribune that everyone was on the first floor when all of the sudden there was a "huge boom." He said he couldn't see anything but felt a weight on him. It was the weight of the collapsed house. Ryan said the baby sitter was yelling and calling him to get up.
Ryan said he saw a light and was able to get out of the house. The boys' mother and father were at a friend's house in Crystal at the time. Their mother, Beth, could hear screaming and commotion when she picked up their voicemail messages on her cell phone. The boys said they did not hear sirens. Oldfather could not confirm whether the sirens activated before the storm, but he told The Associated Press they were going off when he arrived on the scene.
Other people also said they got little or no warning.
"We were just falling asleep, heard a popping sound and yelled 'Get downstairs!"' said Darrin Zachman, who lives in North Ridge development in Rogers.