BREAKING NEWS – Possible tornado damages church

Published 4:50 pm Monday, May 4, 2009

Tornadic winds blew through the Springhill area about seven miles northwest of here around 6:10 this morning severely damaging the Springhill Baptist Church.

Jonathan Toler, youth director of the church, who lives next door to the sanctuary said he woke to hear the distinctive freight train sound and quickly gathered his wife and infant son in an interior bathroom.

“I heard what sounded like a, like a train coming through, passing right next to the house. I heard all the windows rattling and the house really creaking on its foundation,” Toler said.

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He said the roar last 30 seconds to a minute or two, to be replace by the sound of heavy rain. It was about 10 minutes before he could see the steeple laying between the house and the church. He said there appeared to be no damage to the house.

Within a short time emergency power crews and volunteer firefighters were on the scene to secure the power system and begin damage assessment. By mid-morning blue tarps were being attached to the exposed steeple area.

In the interior of the sanctuary ceiling tiles were buckled or fallen to the floor, particularly on the right side of the sanctuary, exposing insulation. No initial damage could be seen to the rear of the building in the fellowship/kitchen area.

Toler said the entire ceiling will have to be re-hung but there was no way as yet to determine the extent of water damage to the attic area.