Winchester community comes together to help clean up after EF-3 tornado

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The National Weather Service confirmed an EF-3 tornado hit Winchester, Indiana, and the city’s mayor says 40 people were left injured, 110 homes were damaged and 22 completely destroyed.

“It was surreal. I thought when I woke up this morning, it was all a bad dream,” Dann Allen said.

Some of the damage left behind from Thursday night’s storm includes downed powerlines and debris.

Hundreds of families are now cleaning up, including Kelli Hilfiker.

She says she jumped into a crawl space after she heard the tornado sirens.

“And in mere seconds — I mean just a few seconds — we heard a big train noise and then we knew it was over,” she said.

Hilfiker’s home is salvageable, but her daughter’s next door is destroyed.

“She didn’t even have enough time to get from her house, which is next door to my house, so I instructed her to get into the bathtub,” Hilfiker said. “In her house, the only room that wasn’t touched is the room she was in.”

Spraypainted X’s and police tape can be seen on nearly every home, church or building indicating first responders stopped by to make sure people weren’t trapped inside.

“I’ve been through three tornadoes. This is the worst one I’ve seen, and I don’t want to go through another one,” Randolph County EMS and paramedic John Fisher said.

Fisher says emotions were running wild.

“Anger, sadness, despair, shock, disbelief. You name it, you see it,” he said.

Fisher says dozens of agencies spent hours rescuing people from collapsed homes and getting others to safety.

“We had ambulance crews coming in from places I didn’t even know. It truly was amazing,” Fisher said. “I thank all the agencies that did show up. Without them, we would’ve really been in trouble.”

There are no reported deaths due to the tornado.

Governor Eric Holcomb toured Winchester.

He says it’s amazing to see everyone come together and assured residents they will have the resources they need for recovery.

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