Watford City – July 10th, 2018… a day that will forever be remembered in Watford City.
That’s the day an EF-2 Tornado hit the town, injuring 28 and taking the life of a 6-day old boy.
In a story you’ll only see on KX News, Meteorologist Robert Suhr sat down with the parents of the little boy that lost his life.
Nearly 300 days have passed since the couple lost their 6-day old son Blake to severe weather.
Tuesday morning, they allowed Robert to sit down with them and discuss that awful day for the first time…
“It was actually one of his [My boyfriend] nights off, cause he works nights so we were up late, it was 12:30, 12:45 almost one o clock, in the morning, sitting there and just the house started shaking and everything and was kind of looking at him and jumped up and we went to go take off and got about five steps the next thing we knew we were most likely airbound, the whole time we were moving, we just couldn’t get our footing.” Saif Marisa Reber, Blake’s Mother.
Marisa tells KX News she did everything she could to save their son’s life.
“When the storm hit, he’d just been sleeping and we were taking pictures of the storm and then he woke up so then I changed him and fed him and everything and that’s when we started shaking and I cradled him the whole time, deputy showed up and kind of pulled him away because I held on to him the whole time, when he pulled him away the whole right side of his head was swelled up and he didn’t cry the whole time he was still breathing but he didn’t cry at all.” Said Reber
But Blake would succumb to his injuries a few hours later before emergency responders were able to transport him to Fargo.
It’s a night the couple says they’ve relived in their heads over and over…
“I would only sleep like an hour or two every night, I would basically relive it every time I would close my eyes, it was a total flashback and relive every second of it again.” Said Reber
“I think about it often, and I think about what lessons could be taken from it umm, you know or periodically I’ll think about what I could have done differently as a dad and a boyfriend”. Said Will Maguire, Blake’s Father.
So how has Watford City changed since that tragic night…KX News went to the top to find out…
“We learned a lot about what we need to improve, and as I said earlier, we had another Tornado a few years before this and communication and notification was a big issue there, I think our notification has gotten better it still needs some work”. Said Watford City Mayor Philip Reily.
McKenzie County Emergency manager Karolin Jappe tells me the city is in the process of upgrading the warning siren in the middle of town. One of those upgrades would allow emergency dispatchers to turn it on when they couldn’t before. A Community Emergency Response Team should also be up and running by this summer.
As for Marisa and Will, they have this message for parents…
“Just hold your kids close and cherish the moments you got with them”. Said Maguire.
Marisa and Will tell KX News they would have never gotten through this ordeal without the support of the Watford City Community.
They also told us they will attempt to have another child, but not until they get married next year.