UPDATE: Stay clear of damaged area in eastern Greene
A tornado touched down in eastern Greene County Saturday night.
Axe reported Sunday afternoon that National Weather Service reports an F2 tornado hit the area with damaging winds between 120-130 mph. The tornado reportedly hit around 6:55 p.m. Saturday.
“The National Weather Service reports there was a tornado that hit near Crowe Road off Indiana 54 past near the Ridgeport community and traveled east to Lawrence Hollow Estates,” Axe reported in a press release.
“There are about three homes with severe damage and not habitable.”
He added that Center-Jackson Fire Territory reported there are about 70 homes that sustained damage from the storm.
“We have several mobile homes with severe damage. However, we ask the following: Please do not travel to the damaged area, you will only hamper emergency response personnel,” Axe stressed.
Center-Jackson Fire Territory Chief Jeremy Inman reported the department and assisting agencies performed 76 welfare checks in the path of the tornado.
While working on the welfare checks in the aftermath of the tornado, Center-Jackson continued to work other calls, including a gas leak, car fire on Interstate 69 and downed power and tree lines.
“While en route to the area of numerous trees and houses that were damaged from Eastern Elementary School to Crowe Road, Center-Jackson Fire Territory requested further assistance to perform a primary search of the area for injuries and/or other extreme emergencies. No injuries were reported to Greene County Emergency Dispatch Center or by any units checking the area, a natural gas main was found broken near State Road 445 and 45. The area was evacuated until the gas main could be secured,” Inman reported in a press release.
Inman expressed thanks to the many agencies that stepped up to help, as well as a local business who donated food.
“Thanks to Eastern FD, Taylor FD, Richland FD, INDOT, Indiana State Police, Greene County Sheriff’s Dept, Bloomfield PD, Greene County Ambulance Service, EMA Director Roger Axe, Greene County Highway, Red Cross and Grips Pizza for the donation of several pizza’s,” Inman said.
“I would like to express my thanks to all of the men and women that helped last night (Saturday). These departments who responded worked as a team to complete the ultimate goal of making sure everyone was safe in eastern Greene County. Thanks again to the Greene County Emergency Dispatchers for working hard behind the scene to make sure we were getting the resources needed. Please keep these families in your thoughts and prayers along with members of our department. Several members of our department suffered damage to their homes and will miss most of their Father’s Day celebrations.”
EMA Director Axe also credited Inman and his staff for all of their hard work.
“(Center-Jackson) Fire Chief Jeremy Inman did a marvelous job, as well as his firefighters. It was a team effort,” Axe said.
“By a stroke of luck, the Center Township Fire Department did not lose electricity, but there are a lot of homes up there without power. REMC worked all night to work on restoring power.”
According to UDWI REMC, there are still hundreds of people in the area without power, with crews continuing to work diligently to restore power.
Axe said he has received reports that it could take some time to restore some power in the Lawrence Hollow area, and he is concerned about individuals not leaving their homes because of their pets.
“We have issues of people needing oxygen and there is no power, but some are refusing to leave their pets behind. People will have to be flexible with us. If you can, see if you can house your pet with a family member,” Axe said.
Shane Smith, Chief of Operations and Engineering at UDWI REMC, reported Lawrence Hollow could be without power until Wednesday.
“Our conservative estimate is that all areas in Lawrence Hollow should be restored by Wednesday morning. We’ve already restored the main line to the area, and now tree crews are clearing debris so we can begin rebuilding. We’ve called in help from three other cooperatives to help us with the restoration process,” Smith reported.
Individuals willing to help clean up can contact the Center Township Fire Department or Heather Hudson, who is working to coordinate the cleanup efforts.
“If you are interested in volunteering with storm clean up in eastern Greene County, Center Township Fire Dept is the command center and can help connect us with who needs help. I am happy to assist in this process as well. Please contact me (Heather Hudson) on messenger on Facebook or email@example.com or the Call Center at 812-825-2799,” Hudson said.
“Please list your skill set (can use a chainsaw, experienced carpentry, etc...), and what type of equipment you have (truck, trailer, saws, etc) when you contact us. We can help match you to the appropriate need. Don’t let not having a specific skill set of equipment stop you either! If you can pick up debris, you are needed.”