Indiana town cleans up from tornado

August 6, 2008 3:55:31 PM PDT
Victims of Monday night's tornado in Griffith, Indiana, are spending a second day salvaging what they can of their homes and belongings. There has also been an outpouring of help from volunteers. It may look like a war zone, but a lot of progress was made Wednesday. What has really helped is the number of residents and local businesses that have pitched in to help.

Volunteers with the Red Cross walked door-to-door passing out disaster kits. The Salvation Army is on site and a local church set up shop on the street so volunteers could pass out water, hot dogs and chips.

"Oftentimes when disaster happens, it brings the community together. And I believe that the church should come outside the four walls to help the community," said Rev. David Reed, Reed's Temple. And this is a community that has come together to help. Two days after a tornado ripped through Griffith town, damaging dozens of homes and businesses, the reality of rebuilding has now hit.

"It's going to take a long time. It could take up to a year," said Lorie Hudnall, homeowner.

Laurie's home was completely destroyed. The roof was blown off and several walls collapsed. The job Wednesday was to figure out what items inside the home can be saved.

"It's hard to figure out where to start. We have the restoration company coming in to help us. So that is helping a lot, because they're pretty much in control. They let you know what you need to do," said Hudnall.

And it's been a very busy 24 hours for Rich Miller. He is an insurance agent for Spitz & Miller Insurance Agency. He says, in his career, he has never seen damage like this.

"It's in the millions. But I can't tell you exactly how much. It's definitely the largest wind tornado damage that I've seen in my 30 years here," said Miller.

It's a cleanup job that will take months. But the town of Griffith says it is organized and is prepared to help.

"The resources are there. So the residents, we need to get the word out to the residents to please contact us and we will get them pointed in the right direction," said Rick Ryfe, Griffith Town Council president.

Besides the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, there are resources that include some surrounding Indiana towns as well as local businesses said to include Wal-Mart, Lowe's and Home Depot, all of which have provided supplies. There have also been pizza companies that have been walking around for the past couple of days giving away pizzas.

As for power, there are still about 4,000 Griffith residents that are without power. NIPSCO says the power should be back on by Thursday night, although certain spots could take longer than that.


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