News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 26, 2011

UPDATE: Thousands remain without power across Terre Haute, southern Indiana

Six injured when storm strikes trailer park near Bloomington

TERRE HAUTE — More than 35,000 homes and businesses remain without power in Indiana the morning after strong storms moved across the state.

Duke Energy reports outages scattered throughout the state's southern half Thursday morning. The greatest concentrations are about 9,500 outages in the Terre Haute area, with some 7,000 around Columbus and 4,700 in and around Bloomington. Vectren says it has some 17,000 outages in the Evansville area.

Strong storms and possible tornadoes hit those areas Wednesday night.

A southern Indiana man who rode out a suspected tornado by hiding with his wife and two children in the closet of the family's trailer says he's thankful everyone is alive.

Authorities say about six people suffered non-life-threatening injuries when a handful of homes in the trailer park near Bloomington were destroyed in Wednesday night's storm.

Brad Taylor returned to the trailer park Thursday morning to check on his home that lost some siding and had a window blown out. He says he's certain a tornado hit the neighborhood.

One doublewide trailer at the mobile home park was tipped over on its side with floor torn off the bottom. Another nearby was reduced to a pile of debris, with two kitchen chairs sitting upright in the middle of the rubble.

Taylor said he, his wife and their two children rode out the storm by hiding in a closet. The trailer lost some siding and a window was blown out, but it was still standing.

"I'm just thankful everybody's alive," Taylor said.

A neighbor, 19-year-old Brandon Arthur, said he has never been so scared.

"All I know is the power went out, the trailer started shaking and I looked out the window and there was green lightning," said Arthur, whose trailer survived except for its wooden deck.

Marie Mason, who owns the trailer park with her ex-husband, Sam Mason, looked bewildered as she sifted through the debris of his trailer for a cell phone. She wanted to call him in the Philippines to tell him what happened. Moments later, neighbors found his dog dead in a nearby field, and she knelt over the animal and cried.

Her son was bruised and bloodied by the storm, but was treated at a hospital and would be all right, she said.

"The good thing is everybody's here to talk about it," Marie Mason said. "I've got a lot to be grateful for. Things can be replaced. People can't."

Crews worked overnight to clear uprooted trees and downed power lines after a tornado touched down in a mostly rural area about 25 miles south near Bedford.

The extent of the damage wouldn't be known until daybreak, but residents expressed relief that no deaths were reported in the latest round of storms even though several homes were destroyed and more than a dozen people were injured, including three or four children.

"We're very fortunate," said Lawrence County Sheriff Sam Craig.

Strong winds blew the roofs off an apartment building and an auto body shop in a small southwestern Indiana town.

The Wednesday night storm caused damage throughout the Gibson County town of Haubstadt about 15 miles north of Evansville. Town Council president Kenny Reinbrecht tells WEHT-TV that emergency workers went door-to-door in the damaged area and didn't find anyone injured.

The owners of the Hepler Airport in northern Vanderburgh County tell the Evansville Courier & Press that 14 planes were damaged. The airport's hangars were also ripped apart.

The storm knocked initially knocked out all power to the town of about 1,500 people, although some electricity had been restored Thursday morning.

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