Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

March 8, 2009

Storms damage homes, church

High winds knock out power to thousands across Indiana

Powerful storms ripped through north central Indiana Sunday, bringing strong winds and heavy rains that caused flooding and other damage in some areas.

High winds reaching 50 mph tore the roof off the Valley View Baptist Church in Flora. In Miami County, five mobile homes were damaged by flying debris.

No one was hurt in either incident.

At approximately 4:45 p.m. emergency responders were called to 4175 South U.S. 31, in Miami County, where five mobile homes were severely damaged and one home was slightly damaged when the roof and cement blocks from a nearby abandoned warehouse struck them. The vacant warehouse is located south of the mobile park.

“The wind came in, lifted the roof up off the building [and] moved it next door into a mobile home park,” said Mike Peconga, the director for the Miami County Emergency Management Agency.

Peconga said most of the residents weren’t home. However, one man who was inside his mobile home at the time the storm rolled in was thrown around from force, Peconga said.

“It shoved him to the other side of the house,” he said.’

The American Red Cross provided shelter for two of the families impacted by the storm, said Peconga. The Pipe Creek Fire Department, Miami County Sheriff Department, Peru Police, Peru Utilities and Salvation Army also assisted with disaster relief.

In Carroll County, emergency responders worked to clear Ind. 18 of debris after the roof was torn off the church.

“There was metal sheeting and insulation half a mile down wind,” said Dave McDowell, director for the Carroll County Emergency Management Agency.

The church is located at 720 W. Columbia St., Flora.

McDowell said the incident occurred about an hour after storms initially hit the county in the afternoon.

“We had everything just short of a tornado,” he said.

Flora Police Officer Mark Thomas said power lines were down in the area and neighbors called emergency personnel at 4:26 p.m. He said power was shut off to the church and a few residences behind the church.

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