Mother says 4 of 7 killed in Iowa tornadoes from same family

Mar 7, 2022, 8:11 AM | Updated: Mar 8, 2022, 5:06 am

Four of the seven people killed in devastating storms that tore through central Iowa were members of the same family who were huddled together in the pantry of a home that was razed by a powerful tornado, authorities said.

Two children, their father and their grandmother all died Saturday when a tornado hit the grandparents’ home near rural Winterset that didn’t have a basement. Family members said the children’s mother, 8-year-old brother, grandfather and uncle survived the storm, but they were injured.

The children and their parents, from Blue Springs, Missouri, were visiting their grandmother, Melissa Bazley, 63, when the tornado hit. The storm killed Bazley, 37-year-old Michael Bolger and two of his three young children, 5-year-old Kinlee Bolger and 2-year-old Owen Bolger.

A GoFundMe page for the family says Kuri Bolger, who is the children’s mother and Bazley’s daughter, was hospitalized after being seriously injured. Lynn Larson said her daughter-in-law, Kuri Bolger, underwent surgery on her leg Monday and faces another surgery on her arm to repair broken bones. Her oldest grandson was treated at the hospital and released.

Larson said she and the rest of her family are “just devastated.”

“I just can’t describe how wonderful Mike was. Everybody loved him,” Larson said. “It just rips your heart out. My grandchildren were wonderful. They were just the light of my life.”

Two others killed in the tornado — Rodney Clark, 64, and Cecilia Lloyd, 72 — lived in homes just down the street from Bazley that were also hit by the tornado. It was rated an EF-4, with peak winds of 170 mph (274 kph), the National Weather Service said Monday. The tornado was on the ground for nearly 70 miles (113 kilometers), leaving the longest path of destruction since a 1984 tornado that carved a path 117 miles (188 kilometers) long.

The seventh death came from Lucas County, about 54 miles (87 kilometers) southeast of Des Moines, when a separate tornado struck less than an hour later, injuring several other people. Officials there said Monday that Jesse Theron Fisher, 40, of Chariton, Iowa, died in the storm and another area resident remained hospitalized. The state Department of Natural Resources said that Fisher was in an RV at a campground at Red Haw State Park near Chariton when the storm struck.

The storms that raked Iowa on Saturday were the deadliest to occur in the state since May 2008, when one tornado destroyed nearly 300 homes and killed nine people in the northern Iowa city of Parkersburg. Another tornado a month later killed four boys at the Little Sioux Boy Scout ranch in western Iowa.

Saturday’s storms damaged or destroyed dozens of homes and downed power lines and trees, causing some power outages.

The tornadoes were followed by winter storms overnight Sunday into Monday that dropped about 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) of snow in central Iowa and 6.5 inches (16.5 centimeters) in Mount Vernon in eastern Iowa.

The snow prompted officials to cancel Monday’s planned storm cleanup efforts after hundreds of volunteers helped out on Sunday. The cleanup was expected to resume Tuesday, but more snow is in the forecast for Thursday, which could cause additional delays.

On Monday, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster declaration for nine additional counties with storm damage that will allow state resources to be used to help with the recovery efforts in Adair, Benton, Decatur, Jasper, Lucas, Polk, Tama, Warren, and Wayne counties. She had already declared a disaster in Madison County, which is known for the “Bridges of Madison County” book and movie.

Elsewhere, the National Weather Service said the storms generated an EF-1 tornado in southeastern Wisconsin near Stoughton that included winds up to 80 mph. The storm flattened trees, snapped power poles and blew out windows in homes. No injuries were reported.

One expert estimated the storms Saturday likely caused more than $1 billion damage altogether.


The spelling of Kinlee Bolger’s first name has been corrected.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Pr...
Associated Press

WHO panel says Monkeypox is not a global emergency ‘at this stage’

LONDON (AP) — The World Health Organization said the escalating monkeypox outbreak in more than 50 countries should be closely monitored but does not warrant being declared a global health emergency. In a statement Saturday, a WHO emergency committee said many aspects of the outbreak were “unusual” and acknowledged that monkeypox — which is endemic […]
19 hours ago
Police in riot gear surround the Arizona Capitol after protesters reached the front of the Arizona ...
Associated Press

Dueling narratives of Arizona protests ended with tear gas

PHOENIX (AP) — Protests outside the Arizona Capitol over the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade that ended with a volley of tear gas were variously described Saturday as either peaceful or driven by anarchists intent on destruction. Republican Senate President Karen Fann issued a news release describing it as a thwarted […]
19 hours ago
Emergency personnel look over the sight of a  helicopter that crashed in Blair, W.Va., on Thursday,...
Associated Press

West Virginia helicopter crash victims identified

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Medical examiners in West Virginia have released the names of six people killed in the crash of a Vietnam-era helicopter that gave tour rides. The aircraft crashed Wednesday during its last planned flight at an annual reunion for helicopter enthusiasts in Logan County. All six people aboard were killed. The state’s […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Army private’s plea shelved internet fantasy chat defense

NEW YORK (AP) — An Army private charged with plotting to murder members of his unit overseas with help from a secretive violent anarchist group was planning a defense calling it all an internet fantasy before pleading guilty just before trial, court records show. Plans for the defense of Ethan Phelan Melzer was revealed in […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Jury awards $21M to family of pregnant teen shot by police

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A federal jury awarded $21 million to the family of a pregnant teen who was shot and killed by undercover police officers in Northern California five years ago, attorneys said. Elena Mondragon was a passenger in a BMW pulling out of a Hayward apartment complex when an unmarked van filled […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

LAPD officer who died was beaten in training, mother claims

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles police officer who died of neck injuries suffered during training had been beaten by fellow officers in an exercise meant to “simulate a mob,” according to a wrongful-death claim filed against the city by his mother. Houston Tipping, 32, was hurt May 26 at the police academy and […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Canvas Annuity

The secret to guaranteed retirement income

Annuities aren’t really a secret, but they are so misunderstood that they might as well be. Once you understand what an annuity is and how it can benefit you, you could decide this “secret” is the perfect supplement to your retirement plan.
Mother says 4 of 7 killed in Iowa tornadoes from same family