Library Riot bears the wrath of Mother Nature

Published 1:17 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Library Riot — as well as neighboring Runte Cleaners — are picking up the pieces after severe storms ripped through their shopping plaza on Ryan Street, causing extreme damage early Wednesday morning.

The National Weather Service has confirmed the damage was caused by an EF-2 tornado that had 155 mile-per-hour winds.

Jamie Meiburg, owner and operator of Library Riot, said he was inside the business when the storm blew through.

Email newsletter signup

“At about 6:40 this morning the wind really picked up and it sounded like a Category 2 — and it felt like it, too,” Meiburg said. “Our door was open and it took a lot of strength to get it closed and as soon as we got it closed, the whole wall started to rattle.”

He said he and the two customers remaining took shelter in the restroom area and watched as the storefront began to crumble.

“That’s when everything just pushed inwards,” he said.

The severe weather took out the windows, doors, flooring siding and brick columns — along with a pool table, booths, vending machine and some tables.

“It could have been much, much worse and we’re happy that no one was hurt,” Meiburg said. “There’s nothing that can’t be replaced.”

This is the second rebuild Meiburg and business partner Christine Blocker have endured for Library Riot. The bar — set to celebrate its two-year anniversary April 15 — had previously been located next to Martini’s on Ryan Street. That building was destroyed nearly four years ago during Hurricane Laura.

“We were open for three weeks at our previous location before the hurricane destroyed that so we’re kind of already used to this, unfortunately,” he said. “It’s nothing new for us so we’ll just rebuild and go forward.”

Blocker said the pair have “been through the ringer” the past few years.

“But we know how to come back,” she said. “I’m definitely bummed, but we have insurance and we’re going to come back stronger. We’re going to be OK.”

Meiburg said he has his fingers crossed the front of the building will be fixed in time for their anniversary party April 27.

“We’ve been here before and we’re already ready to rebuild,” he said as constructor workers removed debris and insulation Wednesday morning. “With the last one, we had no idea what was going to happen next, but with this one my immediate first thought was, ‘OK. It’s just a front. We can do a front.’ “