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Commissioners Praise Firefighters, Police, Community After Tornado Hits Springville
Updated November 15, 2017 7:35 AM
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(BEDFORD) - The Lawrence County Commissioners praised emergency management, highway crews, police, volunteer firefighters and the Springville community for their response in working together after a tornado hit on Nov. 5th.

Five homes were destroyed, other damaged, downed trees, over-turned mobile homes, and other various property damages were widespread in Perry Township. Down power lines hampered rescue and clean up crews.

"I was out there," says Commissioner Rodney Fish. "It was very well coordinated. I was amazed how well it went. Neighbors were helping neighbors - that is what impressed me the most."

Damages were from Popcorn Road, north of Springville, in a straight line east to Hayes Road.

A command station was set up at Springville Elementary School with the Red Cross offering assistance to those displaced by the storm.

"It looked like a war zone in the bottoms on Popcorn Road," Lawrence County Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer told the commissioners Tuesday morning. "A gas leak caused from the tornado lead to the evacuation of 50 homes. A pop off valve blew from the buildup of pressure from the tornado causing it to pop and the evacuation."

Officers and volunteer firefighters went home-to-home to evacuate residents.

"They also used bull horns and again visited homes to make sure everyone was evacuated," she added. "You do what you can do, as fast as you can do it to get people to safety."

Luchauer praised everyone involved.

"It was a great community effort," she added. "It makes me feel good to live in Lawrence County."

Luchauer wants to remind residents that live in the flood plain that any time there is more than 50 percent of their home damaged due to a natural disaster they must rebuild to meet flood plain standards.

"Thankfully no one who had damage was in the flood plain," she added. "But if we don't enforce this we risk being expelled from the program and can't get flood insurance."

In other business:

The commissioners open bids for materials and a backhoe. Of the bids received, two were for fuel, one for oil, five for stone, three for asphalt and four for a backhoe. Those bids were taken under advisement until County Attorney Dave Smith, who was not at the meeting, can review them.


Lawrence County Highway Superintendent David Holmes reported that crews are replacing culverts and culvert boxes. They are also patching county roads and doing repairs and laying stone on gravel roads in anticipation of winter weather hitting.

Holmes presented the grant to apply for federal funds to significantly reduce the road sign replacement cost to the county to meet the latest federal retro-reflectivity standards set by the Federal Highway Administration. If awarded the grant, the funds will be used to replace signs in District 1. These funds will not replace road name signs.

Holmes is currently seeking bids to replace Bridge 170 on Stove Road and Bridge 78 on Pumphouse Road. Bids will be opened on December 12th.

INDOT improved the contract to begin the environmental and design work on Bridge 150 on Mill Creek Road.


The commissioners approved an ordinance to vacate an alleyway in Enola. Enola is located between Breckenridge and Broom Sage roads.


The commissioners signed a contract for All State Towers to replace the guide wires at the communication tower located on Kings Ridge Road.

The tower, built in 1961, is 320-feet tall and has 36 guide wires securing it to the ground and the aging guide wires need to be replaced. The county has owned the tower for more than 40 years with little to no repairs being made on the tower.


The commissioners approved the 2018 commissioner's meeting dates and holiday schedule for Lawrence County employees.


Lawrence County Major Gregg Taylor reported there were 174 inmates in the Lawrence County Jail, of those 39 were females, 21 Level 6 felons and no Department of Correction holds.


The commissioners approved a contract presented by Assessor April Collins for Pictometry. Pictometry is the name of a patented aerial image capture process that produces imagery showing the fronts and sides of buildings and locations on the ground. If the contract was signed by the first of the year, the county will save 10 percent on their bill.


The commissioners approved a contract with Flynn & Sons Excavating & Paving for snow removal at the Lawrence County Courthouse parking lot, the Sheriff's Department and Courthouse Plaza.

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