Griffith continues recovery after twister

August 11, 2008 8:57:03 PM PDT
It's been one week since a tornado devastated the northwest Indiana community of Griffith.And it's clear there is still a lot of work ahead for people vowing to rebuild. And at this point, it appears there won't be much federal help.

It still looks like a bomb went off in Griffith one week after this tornado hit. Tons of debris litters yards even though dumpster after dumpster has already been filled.

"We will return;" That is the message on James Guevera's home a week later. He said he remains hopeful.

"I always had a motto, 'If I can't do nothing about it, there's no use worrying about it.' Certainly nothing I could do about it, I couldn't stop it. Now I can get my insurance people and contractors get together. Ce can hopefully get it back up," he said.

If insurance adjusters are right, Guevera should be living there again within six months.

"I'm shook up. So I cry every so often for friends that have given their, I would say condolences, but they were all willing to help. We had so much help," said Coty Guevera.

When a category EF-2 tornado touched down, 16 homes were destroyed and more than 20 others were severely damaged. About 40 businesses were affected as well, including one strip mall. The roof tore right off of it. The mall most likely will be demolished.

A federal disaster declaration will reportedly not be coming as well because the residential damage is not severe enough.

"It's very discouraging that on a federal level we have to go through so much red tape to have a disaster declared. And in fact, it likely won't be because we don't have $7.5 million of residential damage," said Rick Ryfa, Griffith town president.

Even so, Dave and Anita Reinbold, who lost most of their roof, are counting their blessings.

"These are things that can be replaced, lives can't. There were six bodies in this house and thank God we're all alive," said Dave Reinbold.

The power is back on. It was restored for most people Friday. However, the gas service was still out. It will be six months to a year, maybe even longer before the most devastated neighborhood starts to look anything like it used to.


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