The Washington Times-Herald

Breaking News

November 19, 2013

In harm's way

Tornado victims managed to avoid death, injury by seconds

Sycamore Street in Washington looked like a war zone. A tornado swept across the west side of town leaving a path of destruction and frightened people in its wake.The storm blew through the city turning a quiet Sunday afternoon into a time of terror.

“It hit hard,” said Roger Watson standing outside of his badly damaged home at 501 Sycamore St.. “I could see it (the tornado) bouncing down the alley behind the house. I tried to go out the back to my Mom’s, but it just threw me back inside the house and knocked me down. I curled up in a ball and I could hear the windows blowing out.”

Watson’s home lost its roof, and so did several other homes through the Sycamore Street area. One vacant home was picked up off of its foundation and thrown several feet. The back side of Cracker Powersports was completely smashed with cement blocks thrown everywhere.

Neighbors said it hit quickly. “I heard the sirens and went inside to the bathroom,” said Rebecca Hollanberg, who lives at the corner of S.W. Fourth and Sycamore streets. “I was inside for about 30 seconds and then the whole house started shaking. It felt like forever, but it didn’t last long, and when I came out there was a tree on the house and the door was damaged.”

Washington Street Superintendent Ernie Evans was convinced the damage was the result of a tornado which was later confirmed as an EF2 by the National Weather Service in Indianapolis. He shot video of the event from his home on Vincennes Avenue as it crashed into the west side of town. “I saw it, and it threw up debris,” said Evans. “I lost track of it about the time it hit Hudson’s over around the shopping center.”

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