Tornado Rips Up Eastern Colorado Town

A tornado swept through a community east of Colorado Springs Monday, damaging mobile homes and buildings and injuring at least 17 people.

Lt. Melissa Hartman in the El Paso County sheriff's office said one person was seriously injured. The tornado hit three mobile home parks and at least one school, authorities said.

Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs treated 17 injured people. Sixteen were in good condition and one man was in serious condition with a broken leg, hospital spokesman Chris Valentine said.

"Mostly it's cuts, lacerations and bumps on the head," Valentine said.

Trish Davidson said her mobile home was lifted from its foundation and that its roof was blown off. Davidson, her husband and four of their children had just returned from a holiday fishing outing and were cleaning up.

"We saw the dark clouds develop, then the strong winds, and then the hail, golf-ball size hail," she said. "We saw everything ease off for a little bit and then it started up again. We saw the clouds starting to swirl."

When the winds died down and the hail stopped, the family tried to leave the area. But the tornado arrived as her husband opened the door.

"We just hit the floor in the living room and covered the kids and the tornado hit," she said.

Davidson was interviewed by telephone at the Ellicott United Methodist Church, which was opened to those whose homes were damaged. She had to hang up with a reporter when everyone was ordered to the basement because more tornados were reported in the area.

Karen Krause said she saw the storm from the front doorway of her double-wide trailer in Ellicott, about 17 miles from Colorado Springs. She said it came with no warning as darkness fell.

"It busted windows out of my husband's truck, 20 feet from the house," she said. She said the tornado also ripped the roof from the local high school about 500 feet from her house.

Krause said she saw the storm suck windows out of homes, and that one home was pushed from its foundation.

"Ellicott is not prepared for something like this," she said.