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"I Thought I Would Be Buried There." The Fayetteville Tornado Story
Updated May 5, 2013 1:01 AM | Filed under: WBIW News
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Updated 3/10/2009 7:20am
(FAYETTEVILLE) - To say it was a rough day in Fayetteville, Indiana Sunday would do no justice to what happened to a few families in that area.

However, despite three homes that were literally blown to pieces, and about 19 total homes reporting some sort of damage, it was a quiet morning at the First Baptist Church on Bedford's Washington Street, where the Red Cross had set up a shelter. We spoke with Roger Furnish, the Chairman of the church's Board of Trustees.

"Fortunately we didn't have to have the facilities functioning as a shelter," Furnish said. "We were ready, but nobody was injured. The few that lost their house, as I heard, or were damaged extensively, was handled by the local people in the area."

Furnish told WBIW News this was the first time the church had needed to set up any sort their shelter, which they completed construction on just over 2 years ago, and he says the Red Cross was impressed with how well put together they were.

However, out in Fayetteville, it could have been a scene out of a movie.

"Tornado come through here. It just, in 30 seconds, it was all done. It didn't take very long," said Howard Younger, owner of the home which you may have already seen on TV...the one with the school bus in the living room.

When asked where he was when the storm hit, he said, "I was up there where that bus is at, I just got out of there, and the house left, and the bus flopped, and I crawled downstairs with my wife and we got in the basement, but it was pretty well over with then. I'm not hurt, but she's banged up pretty bad."

Younger continued, saying the house leaving and the bus landing, "happened at about the same time. There's none of the house underneath the bus. It just...exploded, that's all you can say. The windows blew out, the doors busted, and everything was just flying everywhere and it was gone. It was over with."

There were two buses at the home, as both Howard and his wife Sharon drive school buses for the North Lawrence Community School Corporation. Sharon's bus was still sitting in the driveway with busted out windows, and covered in dead grass and hay that had been blown up against it.

It was Howard's bus, however, that went airborne and landed on the home. Sharon's bus, amazingly, still runs, and they pulled it out of the driveway just as I was leaving. Younger says his home is covered, though.

But whether he will be will be able to have everything taken care of by insurance, he's not sure.

"You're never covered enough, I'm tellin' you," Younger said. "You just don't never have enough, you know? You insure, you figure, well, I might lose my house, or I might lose the barn, or lose the shop, but you never figure them all at the same time."

Just up the long, gravel driveway from their home is that of Scott and Wendy Ramsey. It was a close shave for them as well, but no one there was injured.

Scott Ramsey told WBIW News, "I came out of the garage and went back to the stairwell, which is the center of the house, and the air just about blew me through, you know? Windows started coming out, and I was running to the stairs, and I hit about the third stair, and that's when it blew me down the stairs, and I landed at the bottom and the top exploded.

"All I could see when I was looking up was the sky, and I just started covering my head, and, you know, the debris and stuff just started pounding me, and that's when I thought...I thought it was over then, because I thought that back wall was going to come in on me," Ramsey said.

"I figured I was going to be buried there."

The Ramseys also had some, let's call it, "vehicle relocation" happen. Out in the middle of one of the open fields behind the home stood an old SUV that belonged to the Ramsey's, at least two-thirds of it, and it certainly wasn't where they left it.

"[The SUV in the field] was parked right here by these trees," Ramsey told WBIW News, "and my Tahoe was here in the garage." "Toolboxes and all that stuff through here got blown out the front," he said while pointing to a late-model Chevy Tahoe SUV behind him that had it's rear wheels sitting on the foundation of what used to be his garage, and the front wheels sitting on top of a few large tool chests in the grass behind it.

Strangely enough, as we were talking, Ramsey said that the two vehicles in the driveway, outside, were completely untouched, showing the pinpoint damage of one of these storms. I was talking to Scott Ramsey standing next to his home, which was little more than a flat floor, with friends helping replace plywood floorboards. All the rest was literally in a pile of rubble in his back yard.

Overall though, both families seemed to be in higher than expected spirits.

Both families said they will rebuild and that what was destroyed was just material things, and what is important is the health and safety of their family and friends. We plan on having images that we have collected up on this story link soon, to watch for those here.

Of note, the National Weather Service has still not yet confirmed the storm caused a tornado.

Update 3/10/2009 7:20am
(FAYETTEVILLE) - Not only was there one tornado in Lawrence County, apparently there was two. The National Weather Service says the most significant one was in Fayetteville and was rated an EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

The Fayetteville twister cut a path that was 1/8 mile wide and about 2 miles long, causing the most damage along Fayetteville-Williams Road, with additional damage on Fayatteville-Coxton Road and Butterfly Lane. The damage on the north end of Bedford was also considered to be from a tornado, this one rated an EF0 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

That second tornado was only about 50 yards wide, cutting a path of about 1/5 of a mile long in the Mount Pleasant Road area. Straight line winds also caused damage in Odon and Freelandville, and meteorologists say the straight line winds in Odon were more powerful than the tornado in northern Bedford.

One Lawrence County native returned home, however, to see just what happened. Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman stopped at the Indian Creek Fire Barn yesterday around 1:00pm.

Skillman was scheduled to meet with local officials and tour tornado damage.

Fayetteville residents have been the focus of not just attention in Indy, but national attention, as reports have been aired on NBC, Fox, ABC, and the cable news channels.

Scroll down for images of the scene from Monday morning.

Damage to a mobile home seen on Butterfly Lane. [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]
Shingles blown off a roof along Butterfly Lane. [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]
Roofers repairing damage to a home on Butterfly Lane. [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]
Debris blown into a field along Fayetteville-Coxton Road. [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]
View of a structure covered by old billboards amid a field of debris on Fayetteville-Williams Road. [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]
A view of the home of Howard Younger from Fayetteville-Williams Road. [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]
View of the north end of Howard Younger's home, school bus. [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]
Howard Younger's family helps with the cleanup process, view of the south end of the Younger home. [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]
Howard Younger told WBIW News his school bus, pictured on top of the floor of his home, was originally parked where the Fox 59 (WXIN-TV) satellite truck is parked here in this image. [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]
Sharon Younger's bus, parked in the driveway of the Younger home. Howard Younger said the home's south wall fell in front of the bus, and was blocking his regular vehicles in his garage. Younger says one vehicle had glass broken, but both were drivable. [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]
The field between the Ramsey and Younger homes. The grass was matted in the direction of the Younger home. [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]
An SUV owned by the Ramseys blown into a field in between the two homes. [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]
Scott Ramsey tells WBIW News the SUV was parked near the tree/grass line (visible in the middle of the picture). [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]
Scott Ramsey standing in front of what remains of his home. [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]
The structure of the Ramsey home was blown into their back yard (left side of the image) from the base of the structure (right side of the image). [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]
The rear wheels of Scott Ramsey's Chevy Tahoe SUV were sitting on the front edge of his garage's foundation. The front wheels were resting on a couple tool chests in the yard. [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]
The scene between the two homes, of friends, family and neighbors parked between the two homes helping the families dig out and clean up from Sunday's tornado. Also on scene were news crews from Indianapolis. [WBIW News/Justin A. Metzger]

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