GRANT COUNTY, Ind. — 80-year-old Suzanne Chambers said she was grateful nobody was killed during a Friday night tornado that wrecked her part of the town of Swayzee in Grant County.
”I’ve lost my car and my home but everybody’s okay,” Chambers said.
Tree limbs crashed into her home and a neighbor’s house on East Marks Street.
”I did not realize until I came out of my room how bad it was,” she said. “The wind was blowing terrible, the windows were gone, rain was coming clear through, peoples’ stuff was coming through.”
Suzanne looked on as relatives retrieved what they could from her house and loaded it on a trailer.
”I just spent $1,500 last week having my trees trimmed. God said they didn’t do a good enough job. He came in and took care of it,” she said. “It’s unbelievable. But you know what, you survive through it.”
Swayzee Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tyler Bundrick rolled up to Suzanne’s house on a four-wheeler that’s been his mobile command post since the straight-line winds blew into his town.
”I have a team out right now doing an assessment. Probably our final assessment,” he said. “I think we’re dealing with 10-15 critical structures.”
The storm took its first bite out of a John Deere dealership on the western edge of town, damaging farm equipment and buildings.
”It can be concerning for our community, especially with the upcoming planting season. We are an agriculture community and rely heavily on our farmers for everything here in town,” said Bundrick.
It may cost a million dollars to repair Swayzee Elementary School, said one contractor who has surveyed the damage to the roof above the classic 1954 old-style basketball court.
Cole Harber of Harber Exteriors also examined the damaged homes behind the school.
”Nine out of ten homes down through here will have to be leveled, they’ve been knocked off their foundation, and there’s just nothing that can be done about them,” he said. ”We specialize in getting insurance companies to pay for these damages. We found that after hitting a few doors, here that some people don’t have insurance, and maybe they don’t have the money in the bank to pay for these damages, so we’re offering anything we can as far as roofing materials, siding, food, water, so no one’s out here suffering.”
The National Weather Service clocked the tornado that hit Swayzee as an EF-2 with winds of 120 miles per hour.