Strong winds cause damage, power outages

Strong winds late Wednesday afternoon toppled trees and downed power lines in St. Joseph and Berrien Counties.

An estimated 1,200 households were without power in St. Joseph County and 500 were without power in Berrien County when the winds peaked at 54 mph.

Five children and their grandmother were inside their home in the 2100-block of North Olive Street when a tree fell on their roof. The tree damaged a bedroom wall where 3rd grader Faith Love had just started watching television.

"I was screaming mom, mom a big loud noise just came in my bedroom and it was just scary for me knowing something just fell on my house," said Faith. "I was really scared. I thought it just going to fall on me."

Neither Faith nor any of the children or her grandmother were injured, but the tree knocked a hole in the roof and came to a rest on nearby power lines.

"It's all damaged up. Big holes in the roof and we might can't stay here tonight because AEP came out and the tree is on the wires and said we had to stay away from the house," said Pat Lockett, Faith's grandmother.

Nearby, part of the roof at M.R. Falcon was ripped off by the winds. Debris was scattered across Keller Street and a nearby parking lot, but employees said no one inside was injured and it remained opened through the evening.

A dentist's office in the 200-block of South Eddy Street escaped damage from a falling utility pole, but employee and patient cars were stuck in the parking lot because of live wires.

"The lights actually flickered in the office and then maybe within ten minutes we heard this large, loud thud. Definitely knew something hit something and lost power immediately, even felt a little vibration in the floor," said Lori Nine, who works in the dentist's office.

AEP cleared the lines just before 8:00 p.m., but was unable to restore power to the building because an electrician was needed to repair the lines that were attached to the interior of the building.

In the 3500-block of Oakcrest Drive two children were playing in the backyard when a tree containing their new tree house fell over. The children were not injured, but a garage was damaged and will likely have to be torn down.

AEP estimates it will take until Thursday to restore power to all of its customers.

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