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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

County assesses damage from high winds

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Little remains of the Ferrand dairy barn on U.S. 231 south of Brick Chapel. The barn was destroyed in Tuesday evening's high winds, and debris from the barn temporarily blocked the highway. For photos of additional damage around the county, see Page 3A
Damage reports continued to come in Wednesday from a major February storm that ripped through Putnam County Tuesday night.

The National Weather Service reports sustained winds of 90 mph and even stronger wind gusts that left a path of destruction from the west-central part of the county to the northeast corner at Bainbridge and Roachdale.

The roof is gone from the Bainbridge Fire Station and a historic barn on U.S. 231 North is completely leveled.

"Portions of the roof are well beyond the gas station," said Bainbridge Clerk-Treasurer Jason Hartman. "I'd say that's 300 yards away. Damage is pretty substantial."

Bainbridge rescue workers spent the day Wednesday clearing debris and wading through a thick layer of pink slime that coating the ground, trees and a nearby house. The colorful, rain soaked sludge was created by wind-shredded insulation from the fire stations damaged roof.

"As far as I'm concerned the building is a total loss," said Bainbridge Fire Chief Mike Smith, as he waited for insurance adjusters to render their verdict. The department's radio antenna was also destroyed.

Smith reported that the fire department's primary engine and a rescue truck are currently being housed in the Bainbridge Community Building. Other town vehicles are fanned out throughout the community in private garages until other permanent arrangements can be made.

Just south of Roachdale a modular home was blown nearly 10 feet off its foundation and into a carport. Neither of the home's residents, Tammy and James Folck, were inside during the storm. When they returned to survey the damage, Tammy says she was devastated.

"We came home and we had no home," she said. "It was like a war zone inside."

Westward on U.S. 36, wind tossed vehicles at Detro Trailer Sales like toys, causing a small mobile trailer to roll across U.S. 231 and come to rest in a ditch.

South of there, the Ferrand family barn was destroyed when winds blew the roof completely off the barn. Family members said the barn once housed dairy operations. The hay mow was completely open to the elements after the storm and bales of straw littered the area.

To the north, the storm wasn't kind to Fred Cox, who runs a trucking company and small cattle operation from his farm on CR 500 North, about a mile west of Somerset Church.

He took shelter with his family as the winds tore off the roof and walls of his century-old barn that has served his family since the 1940s.

"In three minutes, it was all over," he said. "It shook the house pretty good."

Cox and his neighbors were surveying the damage Wednesday morning as a gray sky opened up and drenched the crumpled barn with more rain. Cox said the assessor came out and told him the barn was a total loss.

Elsewhere, a carport was blown on its side and metal was ripped from several homes in the Van Bibber Lake area.

Pingleton Saw Mill saw the tin roofs lifted off several building and a few trees and tree limbs down.

Putnam County Severe Weather Expert Chris Edwards reported that despite wide spread rumors of tornados, the storm cell that caused Tuesday night's damage was actually a squall line.

Edwards says that the straight-line winds can often roar like a tornado, but the damage caused by those winds is on a broad scale, unlike the fixed path of a tornado.

Edwards also reported that Putnam County Emergency Management Agency representatives have finalized plans for a Sky Warn Spotters class to be conducted at the Courthouse Annex from 7-9:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 26.

Meanwhile, Tuesday's storm knocked out power to numerous residents across the county.

The primary provider for the northern part of Putnam County, Parke County REMC, reported power outages in the communities of Russellville, Roachdale, Morton, Bainbridge, Greencastle and Reelsville.

The company identified nearly 8,000 outages when the storm first rolled through the area late Tuesday night. As of noon Wednesday, all but 500 locations were still without power.

General manager Bob McCullough said the company has called in extra crews from Warren County REMC, Tipmont and Rockville to assist in the clean-up effort.

Parke Professional Services employees have been assigned the task of removing fallen tree limbs.

"The goal is to have the majority of the remaining outages restored by midnight tonight," McCullough said. "We would like to thank everyone for their patience during this storm and always remember, if you see a downed power line, assume it is hot and stay away from it."

Assistant Editor Adam Coates contributed to this report.

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