Six months later, Kokomo residents find more problems in tornado-ravished homes

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KOKOMO (April 28, 2014) — The warmer weather has exposed a new set of problems in Kokomo. Families working to recover from the massive tornado in November are seeing new obstacles this spring.

Howard County’s Long-Term Recovery Team said homeowners are starting to see more issues around the house including cracks, leaks, even black mold.

“I think people were surprised when the snow melted. The amount of glass, shingles and just trash in their yards are not easily removed,” said Stephanie Burghoff, a county case manager. “We’re seeing some mold now, which is dangerous to families.”

Six months later, you can still see the damage to the eight buildings at Peggy Patch’s house. The 70-year-old who is bed-ridden could only watch as the tornado ripped through her front porch.

“It was sandblasted. You go out there and you see nails sticking out the walls,” said Patch. “It was only a few seconds but the world changed in that instant.”

Tom Price’s house shifted an inch and a half from the storms. He still sees stains from his roof leaking during the winter.

“If I had to do it again, I would have just waited [on repairs],” he said. “When your house is leaking from the roof, you’ve seen enough damage the way it is. Let alone, [find] any more.”

It’s the reason why World Renew, a Christian non-profit group, are in town. These volunteers, or ‘Green Shirts’, have gone door-to-door to look for new families who may need help now. They’ve handed out nearly 900 forms for homeowners who may still need assistance.

“We’re just finding people that [the county] has not found and they still need help,” said Hank DeGraaf, a World Renew volunteer. “We’ve found some really really bad cases.”

World Renew will be in Kokomo until Thursday 4:30 p.m. If you need additional help, contact the Long-Term Recovery Team in Howard County at 211.