FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Storms wreaked havoc overnight Monday in neighborhoods around Fort Wayne, and residents have been left dealing with the aftermath. WANE 15 visited with neighbors working in the heat to clean up their yards.

Arcola farmer compares storm to one in 1955, but this one was worse | by Jamie Duffy

“I want you to see my trees,” Ken Kurtz said walking behind his home on Brown Road in Arcola.

“I live in the corner of a woods and you would not believe how many trees are down behind my house. There’s probably a dozen right in that area,” Kurtz said walking past a clothing line with clothespins on it toward an uprooted cherry tree, rent through with its inside bark exposed. Nearby, a mulberry tree lay on its side.

The grove with different tree species is something Kurtz keeps up. Against the side of his house, a rose bush was left undisturbed, its red blooms away from the storm’s path through his yard. They were planted by his wife, now deceased, Kurtz said.

“At our home, you could tell something was happening, something kind of kept hitting the house and bouncing off of my house, but I didn’t have any damage to my house,” Kurtz said.

Tuesday, Kurtz was at his son-in-law, Mike Voorhies’, home on Felger Road, a home he once owned but turned over to the Voorhies to keep it in the family. Indiana Michigan work trucks took up part of the driveway monitoring drooping power line near the house. A tree with branches ripped off was cordoned off with red and white danger tape.

In 1955, Kurtz lived in the Felger Road home. On Memorial Day weekend of that year, a storm like Monday night’s came through and took down the family’s barn. It took off half of the slate roof on the house. The chicken and the hog house blew down

“This one is a lot more devastating than that one was because that one was a narrow strip that went through,” Kurtz said. “This is widespread. It goes from Highway 30 over into Aboite Township to Covington and Aboite Center Road.”

“Believe it or not, we still have power,” Voorhies said. “The whole house was shaking on the foundation last night when the worst of this storm blew through. I thought it was blowing all the gutters and the roof off the house, but what I heard was all these branches coming down out of this tree and you can see where it’s stretched my power lines, but it did not completely disconnect it. 

“I&M is here now to repair the damage. We lucked out. We did not lose power. It was kind of a scary couple of hours last night,” Voorhies said.

Down Brown Road, Kurtz’ son, John Kurtz and wife Tina have their home. The storm took down a machine shed, only a couple of years old. The winds were so fierce, a lot of the debris landed in the adjacent corn field. Luckily none of the machines were destroyed, but some will have to be repaired, Kurtz said.

Along Arcola Road that leads from the Felger Road home to Brown Road, trees were uprooted. Earlier Tuesday morning, Kurtz said the road was impassible because of the storm damage.

By Jessica Walter

Strong wind gusts brought down trees and debris across the area Monday night, leaving residents to clean up the mess in record-high temperatures.

“It looks like a warzone back in here, and it’s sad to see,” Sherry Blake said about her neighborhood, Lakewood Park, on the south side of Fort Wayne.

For this neighborhood’s residents, teamwork and unity were essential to making sure the mess was cleaned up.

While residents try cleaning branches and debris up, the heat slows them down. With temperatures in the mid-90s, residents say cleaning up requires many more breaks for water and cooling down inside or in the shade.

“It’s awful. I mean first you’re dealing with a horrific thing, my house is pretty much gone. Then to have to clean up after it is hard,” Sarah Tillman said.

But for this neighborhood’s residents, teamwork and unity were essential to making sure the mess was cleaned up. Some offered up their chainsaws to help cut down fallen trees and branches.

“What a mess, but the neighbors all came together,” Blake said.

“It’s what we do for neighbors. We help each other out all the time. I mean we’re a close knit family so we help each other out all the time,” Tim Raleigh said.

Many residents say they plan to stay with friends or at hotels while they wait for power to return and will get back to work tomorrow to clean up the neighborhood.

by Vincent Martorano

Monday night storms wreaked havoc across Fort Wayne, uprooting trees and taking out power. For some like Joe Bartels, the storms dealt greater damage.

“We’ve got holes punched in the roof, gutters down, trees all over, and of course, all of our vehicles are crushed,” he said.

Bartels lost power, a few trucks and a Bobcat tractor from a single fallen tree. The family is not worried about powering the house. The bigger concern is the outdoor appliances that were exposed in the storm.

“We need to make sure our outside A/C units are in tact and that there is nothing that will compromise the safety of the electrical if we do charge the house,” he said.

Joe Bartels lost power, a few trucks and a Bobcat tractor from a single fallen tree.

With the blistering heat coming this week, the Bartels and their neighbors will rely on generators to power their home to keep them cool.

The Bartels love the house because of all of the large trees that surround it. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that this has happened in the 12 years he and his wife have lived here.

A few years ago, high winds brought down many trees in the front yard. This time around, they fell everywhere.

“This is the second time. This from last night took out a lot of old growth. We had so many trees when we bought the house. That’s what we loved about the property. It took down I don’t know how many trees. A lot,” he said.

The next step is to start cleaning up what Bartels describes as a bomb dropping on his house. His plan is to start at the front of the house where there are branches everywhere and a few uprooted trees. He then plans to make it towards the back of the house where there is a tree through his roof, multiple trees on the ground.

Finally, Bartels will make his way to the backside of the property where he hasn’t been yet because you can hardly walk through it.