Town of Brookston under state of emergency

BROOKSTON, Ind. (WLFI) — The town of Brookston is shut down and currently under a state of emergency due to storm damage, according to Brookston Town Marshal Troy Yeoman.

Local and state highway workers have been on scene for hours to get the roads cleared and back open, but they have a lot of work to do. State Roads 43 and 18 are closed due to debris blocking roadways.

Large limbs and, in some cases, entire trees have been knocked down and are blocking roads, driveways and lawns. That’s not to mention the damage to people’s homes, cars and other property.

“The storm, the wind was so ferocious you couldn’t have stood out in it at all,” Brookston resident Steve Hall said. “This tulip tree behind me was a healthy young tree and just twisted it and laid it over like a pretzel.”

Emergency crews are still dealing with a gas leak a block away from the elementary school. Casey Crabb with Carroll-White REMC said at noon, just more than 2,900 members remain without power. She said the main damage is in the Brookston area. Crabb said repair work will not begin until late Thursday night, at the earliest.

Yeoman declared a state of emergency around 7:30 a.m. The American Red Cross has set up a shelter at a church on Wood Street to help those who need assistance.

“We’re taking care of the shelter as far as generators and coming in and out of the heat,” Dave Fagan with Red Cross said.

Red Cross volunteers tell WISH-TV’s sister station WLFI that they have seen nearly 50 families at the shelter so far. Meals and other provisions are being provided.

Volunteers said their biggest concern is the heat. They are working on setting up a generator at the shelter so it can be used as a cooling station as well.

Meteorologist Mark Steinwedel with National Weather Service in northern Indiana said they are not going to be able to get people out to Brookston Thursday.

Steinwedel said they sent local emergency management an email requesting photos to help determine whether last night’s storm was a tornado. They ask people in Brookston to send whatever pictures they may have of damages.

Steinwedel says they are not sure if it was a tornado but according to the radar data, a broad circulation did surround the Brookston area. He said it’s definitely a possibility.

He said they are running thin on resources due to the summer months, and he hopes to have a group out to survey the damage on Friday.

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