INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Trees were toppled, several buildings were hit and a few walls and roofs torn off their building Saturday night in Clinton County.
“Just saw the clouds coming together, then we would see part of it start to come down then start to come back up and you could see the clouds actually starting to swirl a bit,” said Clinton County resident Lisa Stafford.
Stafford was driving home to Frankfort when she saw what she and her husband saw what they thought were funnel clouds.
Then she heard the sirens.
Just miles away in Forest, Jack McAfee stood on the porch with his wife.
“When that wind gust come up, I said, ‘Get out of here. Let’s get over to the fire house,’” said McAfee, “because it would be a lot more protection that here.’ Wrong. It wasn’t.”
McAfee and his wife had just gotten to the back of the firehouse when he says it became silent for 10-15 seconds.
They turned around and were stunned.
“We didn’t realize that the wall had just exploded really,” said McAfee.
Cement blocks from one entire side of the wall were blown off, the HVAC unit was sagging from the side where hardly any visible structure remains.
“We came back out and looked and saw what had happened,” said McAfee. “All of them cement blocks were on the trucks and cars. It did a lot of damage.”
On the front, it appeared the tornado pulled the roof away from the walls.
Mike Tate and his fellow volunteer firefighters were able to take three of their four trucks out when they heard about the possible tornado.
The last one had to be pulled out this morning after the storm hit.
“It was parked along this side, kind of right in where it’s open and it just didn’t collapse,” said Tate. “I don’t know what’s holding that wall up. I don’t want to know.”
Just down the street, there’s a collapsed barn.
Next door, half of a large, old tree lies in the backyard, resting on the fence, while the other half is still poking through the roof of a house.
Now all anyone can do is start to clean up.
The firefighters have to wait for an insurance adjuster to come back Monday morning to finish the company’s assessment before they can move forward.
“I’ve been on 38 years and this is the worst I’ve seen it,” said Tate. “It kind of brought me to tears a little bit.”
To donate to the fire department’s rebuilding efforts, you can send money to:
Forest Volunteer Fire Department
P.O. Box 21
Forest, IN 46039