Witnesses describe living through 2012 tornado in Henryville

Witnesses relive tornado 5 years later

HENRYVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) -- The view from above shows the stronghold Mother Nature had on southern Indiana five years ago.

Damage was reported in five counties and there were 13 deaths in the Hoosier State by a tornado that touched down on Jeff Hurst’s property.

“For some reason, you felt like something was going to happen,” Hurst told WHAS11.

He lived through the 1974 tornado. It missed his childhood home, but in 2012, he wouldn’t be as lucky.  His son lived in the house Hurst grew up in.  It took a hit from the tornado, creating massive damage.

Hurst was at work at the time as plant manager at Borden Junior/Senior High.  “My son made it down to school and told me they got hit.  But they were safe, that’s the main thing,” Hurst said talking through tears.

About 30 miles away in Marysville, William Stewart scrambled to see what was left of his home.

“I didn’t know if I still had a house when I got up there,” he said.  Unfortunately, the tornado moved his home off the foundation.  It was condemned.  He spent several days taking it apart.

“We actually had to take the house down by hand and carry it out to the road so they could get out here and pick up the debris from the house,” Stewart explained.

Many of his neighbors had to do the same thing, but they never returned to rebuild.  Reminders of that day still litter the trees.

“There was a lot of people that sold their property and didn’t come back up here,” he told WHAS11.

Overgrown brush now marks the spots where homes once stood.  Stewart counted seven lots that remain bare, leaving an empty hole in the once vibrant neighborhood.

“I’m hoping that one day, somebody buys up these properties and puts houses back on them.”

Hurst’s Pekin home had some damage to it, but it did not have the extent of damage his son’s home had.  Stewart re-built his Marysville home and has lived there for 21 years.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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