Crews work to cleanup heavy storm damage

A strong storm that rolled through Knox Tuesday morning left much of the city without power. While many lines have been restored, the cleanup has just begun.

The storm cell brought not only heavy rain through Starke County, but also strong winds.

“We do have unconfirmed reports of winds being at like 112 miles per hour at the airport,” said Starke County Emergency Management Director Ted Bombagetti.

Those winds didn’t just take down decades old trees, they almost knocked over the 911 communications tower by the Starke County Police Department.

Crews worked Wednesday to repair the tower, which folded in half.

“The tower is unstable,” Bombagetti said. “So, what they're doing is they're being very meticulous. They're taking each antenna down at a time and they'll either decide to remount them to a portion of the antenna that's left or they'll make a temporary structure on top of the jail.”

Although the tower was damaged significantly, it didn’t affect first responders’ abilities to communicate with each other during the storm. All crews were able to get to emergency calls quickly.

The storm also damaged the focal point of the community – the Starke County Courthouse.

“Our county courthouse is the oldest active courthouse in the state of Indiana and we’re really proud of it,” Bombagetti said. “Some of the tiles came off and we did have some flooding inside.”

But the most devastating damage happened just a couple blocks away at the Knox City Park.

Dozens of trees knocked down power lines and fell on top of playground equipment, forcing the city to close the park as NIPSCO crews made repairs.

“Being summertime, kids want to play,” Bombagetti said. “So, they’re trying to get that open so the kids have something to do.”

Residents have also pitched in to help the city cleanup neighborhoods. Wednesday morning several people walked around town with chainsaws.

“People have been working together helping neighbors chop down trees and cut things up,” said resident Patti Kline. “So I think neighbors are helping each other.”


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