Chelsea residents putting pieces back together - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Chelsea residents putting pieces back together

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Three people were killed when a tornado struck near Chelsea. Three people were killed when a tornado struck near Chelsea.
Carol and Terry Jackson and their great grandson died in the storm. Carol and Terry Jackson and their great grandson died in the storm.
This Chelsea home was moved 100 feet by the storm. This Chelsea home was moved 100 feet by the storm.
CHELSEA -

The recovery from Friday's deadly tornadoes continues in Chelsea in Jefferson County.

While Mel Adams kept watch over his nephew's heavily damaged Chelsea home, he stopped to reflect on the sheer destruction Friday's storms delivered.

"You never expect it to hit home, but it does," said Adams.

As the sun peeked over the trees, the community's worst fears were confirmed - very little had been spared. James Lyons stopped by the devastated property which lined Jackson Road to check on his neighbors. He could not believe what he saw and was amazed at just how lucky he was.

"To say it might [have] missed our home by one house? I mean, this is close. I just live right over there," said Lyons.

Teri Kleopfer was not as fortunate. She and her family, who all live nearby, were hit exceptionally hard.

"There's nothing left but the front porch and some concrete blocks," said Kleopfer.

Her home was picked up by the force of the storm and dropped more than 100 feet away.

"It's kind of like the 'Wizard of Oz.' I mean, you can go in there and walk around, but were leaning, we're over the creek, you can hear water running under the house," she told Eyewitness News.

Kleopfer is a bus driver and was taking children home Friday afternoon when she spotted the approaching storm. She and three other drivers pulled off at the Chelsea General Store and rushed the kids inside.

"Their book bags are still on my bus. I had them drop everything and run. That's how severe it was," she said.

While in the general store, she heard people talking about the destroyed home. She had no idea they were talking about her home.

Across the road, only a porch and a few steps stand where her uncle Terry and aunt Carol's historic farmhouse stood for more than 80 years. The house was annihilated and the elderly couple thrown more than 50 feet away.

According to family members, their granddaughter, Amanda Jackson, and two of her children were also inside. She stopped at the home as the storm was hitting to take cover, but the wind proved too powerful for her four-year-old son Davlin.

"The way I understand it, the storm ripped him out of her arms. He was a little fella, he wasn't very big so...we've lost him," said Kleopfer.

Family says Amanda and her daughter were both taken to an area hospital with injuries.

Kleopfer says the family is praying for their recovery and remembering Terry and Carol as loving parents and grandparents who were kind and giving to the entire community.

Piece by scattered piece, the family is trying recover the memories they can find.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's just things. I can't replace them. That baby had all of his life to live," she said.

Now they have the seemingly impossible task to figure out how to rebuild a life here - one that will never be the same.

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