Hundreds of autoworkers revved up General Motors' assembly line Thursday for a 14-hour crash effort to finish the 400 sport utility vehicles left uncompleted when a twister raked the plant earlier this month.
The tornado May 8 knocked out the plant's power station, toppled its cooling towers and peeled the roof and siding off the paint shop. But it left the SUVs untouched. For 20 days, the vehicles, without engines or interiors, sat in silent darkness on a motionless conveyor belt.
The assembly area hummed again Thursday as nearly 900 employees cranked up their machinery. Two shifts -- a day crew and a night crew -- are back for one week only.
Then the autoworkers will go back to waiting at home, collecting 95 percent of their pay, until the 2,800-employee plant reopens for good. GM is aiming to start up the plant June 30.
No employees were injured in the tornado, which sent about 1,200 workers into underground shelters. But two truck drivers arriving at the plant at the same time as the twister suffered minor injuries.