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Tornado debris piles remain in 2 southern Indiana towns

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Friday, February 15, 2013 - 4:08 pm

HENRYVILLE — Two southern Indiana towns are still marked with damaged buildings and piles of debris nearly a year after an outbreak of deadly tornadoes, a county official says.

Clark County building inspector Tony Semones told the county's commissioners Thursday night that the Henryville and Marysville areas still have 23 buildings to repair after they were battered by the March 2, 2012, storms. Hundreds of buildings were damaged in the county during the storms that killed 14 people across southern Indiana.

Semones said a dozen large piles of storm debris also remain on private properties in tornado-ravaged areas that were littered with twisted pieces of buses, houses, barns, construction equipment and other items.

"The operations ceased, but the piles remain," he said.

Semones said the piles need to be removed because they look bad, although he noted that residents who own the damaged buildings or have piles of debris on their land also were hard-hit by the tornado outbreak.

"A lot of these individuals have already suffered some pretty bad damages. ... But at some point, we have to do something," he said.

The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., reported that the commissioners suggested that Semones speak personally with property owners before sending notices informing them that they have 30 days to remove the debris before citations are issued.

The county has posted notices saying it will stop picking up storm debris in June.

Semones said the county's 23 remaining storm-damaged buildings are 15 houses, two commercial buildings and six outbuildings. He said those structures are severely or moderately damaged.

Most of the houses have been tied up in insurance and legal battles, but three damaged homes in Henryville need to be dealt with first because they're within a federal flood plain and cannot be repaired.

Commissioner John Perkins asked the county's attorney to draft an ordinance that allows for buildings in unincorporated parts of the county like Henryville and Marysville to be condemned and demolished.