July 24, 2016

Partly cloudy

Community continues to aid Indoes

HARRISVILLE TWP. — With the help of donated construction equipment, several dozen volunteers spent Friday cleaning up debris and taking away hay and straw bales from the largest of the three barns that collapsed at Richman Farms Thursday afternoon.

Pieces of wood, along with branches and roof tiles, were placed into large piles around the barnyard. A few people were standing underneath a portion of the roof that was still intact and looking out at the pasture below.

By 3 p.m., what was remaining of the barn’s roof was peeled off and volunteers were climbing up a mountain of straw bales and throwing them down into hay wagons, which then were taken to another farm.

The National Weather Service confirmed Friday a category F1 tornado touched down about 4:35 p.m. Thursday near Prouty and Kennard roads, where the three barns were located. The twister cut a path about a mile long and 50 yards wide.

The tornado had winds of between 95 and 100 mph and followed an eastern path down Kennard Road and disintegrated near Avon Lake Road, a National Weather Service spokesman said.

While the focus on Thursday was rescuing the animals trapped in the feed barn on Prouty Road, Friday’s was on taking apart the largest barn on Richman Road used for milking cows, said Tom Indoe, whose family owns Richman Farms.

When the storm hit, approximately 45 cows were in the barn on the lowest level, which sustained minor damage.

None of the animals in that barn were injured, but two cows and a draft horse died from injuries after the feed barn collapsed above them.

One of the silos and the flagpole on top of it also remained intact, although the pole was bent.

Another barn off Richman Road, which contained a wood shop and stored equipment, was destroyed.

Rex Bauman, who lives in the house next to the feed barn that was barely touched by the tornado, said it will be hard getting used to not seeing the barns every day.

“It will be really strange not seeing them,” he said.

Jenny Thomas, daughter of Tom Indoe, said she did not arrive at the farm until Friday morning from her home west of Columbus and was happy to see so many friends and neighbors donate food and equipment from their construction and excavation companies.

“It looks like a big construction zone,” she said, while grilling bratwursts someone had donated.

Along with volunteers donating time and equipment, friends and neighbors also came with food, packages of bottled water and ice.

“It’s nice to see people coming together, said Sylvia Anderson of Lafayette Township, who was there with her husband, David. She had brought water and an ice cooler given to her at Lafayette Market after she said they were going to the Indoes’ farm.

Along with the destruction to the barns, hail damaged the Indoes’ corn, alfalfa and hay crops, which was due to be cut soon, Tom Indoe said.

“The hay’s pretty sheared up, it looks like a weed-whacker hit them,” he said.

Most of the farm’s cows were moved to a farm owned by Jim Morlock in West Salem, Tom Indoe said, where they will remain indefinitely. Several cows still remain at the Ohio State Fair, where Richard Indoe was showing them.

Power had been shut off to the barn since Thursday night, but it was restored to a house near the milking barn, Chatham Township Fire Chief Byron Fike said Friday.

To Help

The Medina County Farm Bureau is setting up the Richman Farms Fund to help the Indoe family. Donations may be made at any FirstMerit Bank branch. For information, call the farm bureau toll-free at 866-658-7456.