Tornado Cleanup Underway In Holton
First responders embrace during the tornado response in Holton on Friday.
Ripley County Emergency Management
(Holton, Ind.) – Efforts are being made to get life back to normal in western Ripley County.
Two people died and six were injured when an EF3 tornado with bruising winds of up to 140 MPH struck the town of Holton Friday afternoon. The twister tore a path of about 11 miles, 350 feet wide.
For some, a recovery may take months. Ripley County Emergency Management says 18 homes and 14 businesses in the county were destroyed by that tornado. More than 80 other buildings across the county suffered at least some damage.
Damage in Ripley County is estimated at six million dollars, according to the RCEMA.
Friends and neighbors are helping with the cleanup, which could take weeks to pick up shredded pieces of homes blown into sprawling fields and debris lodged in the limbs of trees still standing.
Dozens of victims, family, and first responders took time to reflect of the tragedy during a vigil held Sunday evening at Holton Methodist Church.
Anybody who goes to Holton to help is asked to first check in at the Holton Firehouse, 38 South Marion Street.
Local branches of the American Red Cross are also handling donations. Donations can be made through Wednesday at the Aurora Community Center.
The Holton Christian Church is also orchestrating donations to help local victims.
A shelter for the Holton victims with nowhere else to go was originally set up at South Ripley Elementary School in Versailles with six people staying there Friday night, school officials said. The shelter was moved to the Holton Community Center on Saturday.
Indian Governor Mitch Daniels declared a State of Emergency on Sunday for 11 southern Indiana counties: Clark, Gibson, Harrison, Jefferson, Posey, Ripley, Scott, Shelby, Vanderburgh, Warrick and Washington counties.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is conducting a full damage assessment before making a recommendation to the governor about a request for federal assistance.