Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 28, 2013

Tipton is drying out

Damage scattered.

By Ken de la Bastide
Tribune staff writer

Tipton — Much like a tornado will destroy one home and leave an adjacent one untouched, damage from the flooding in Tipton was scattered.

Some residents sustained little or no damage while a block away there was major wreckage from the rising waters on April 19.

New Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Tipton proved to be fortunate for the Tipton Community Schools situated near Big Cicero Creek.

John Junco, assistant superintendent, said the school system had flood insurance.

“We decided to get flood insurance this summer,” Junco said Thursday. “The decision was made after the new flood plain maps were released. We wanted added protection for the community.”

Flood waters entered the auditorium in the orchestra pit at the front of the stage and carpeting was damaged, Junco said. He said water also got into the high school boiler room, but sump pumps prevented any damage. Standing water on the tennis courts expanded some existing cracks.

“We don’t know about the sound and electrical system in the auditorium,” Junco said. “We have been letting it dry out.”

He said 37 cars in the south parking lot were submerged. The cars were left by parents who were on a field trip.

Tipton has filed two appeals disputing the new Flood Insurance Rate Maps which cover 80 percent of the south side of the city including the schools, IU Health Tipton Hospital, Miller’s Merry Manor and the Tipton County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Mayor Don Havens said there were areas that flooded which were not identified as flood prone on the existing maps.

“As a casual observer, the areas flooded by Big Cicero Creek are closer to the proposed flood zone,” he said. “Along Buck Creek, the proposed flood zone on the new maps is more extensive than the flooding that took place.”

Renee Grimme, owner of the popular South Pole restaurant, suffered extensive damage. She was told a few years ago that flood insurance for her property was not necessary.

The business was closed for five days and reopened on Wednesday.

“The basement was flooded,” she said. “I lost everything including three freezers, food, hot water heater, washer and dryer and office equipment. It took the eight hours on Saturday to pump out all the water.”

Grimme said it took 15 hours to clean up after the flooding on Monday and Tuesday.

“I’m blessed compared to other people,” she said. “If the water had gotten to the first floor, I’m not sure I could have sustained the loss.”

To the west along South Street, Ray Denham was pumping water from the crawl space of his mother-in-law Leda Butler’s home.

“I don’t know how she lucked out,” he said. “This house is in a low spot. There was water in the crawl space, pooled in the yard and in the garage.”

Denham said some of Butler’s neighbors had up to five feet of water in their basements.

He said Butler evacuated her home on Friday and had to be carried to a truck.

On Jackson Street, water was flowing from a sump pump in the home of Mark Neayer, where 10 feet of water was in the basement and garage.

“I was at work,” he said. “My son called and said the water was up to the steps.”

Neayer said the home suffered damage to carpeting and items stored in the garage and basement.

“We’ve been busy since Saturday,” he said of the clean-up. “Volunteers have come to help.”

He evacuated Friday and stayed with relatives.

Preliminary estimates are 239 structures in Tipton were affected by the flood.

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