Madison Co. officials warn of contractor scams as storm cleanup begins

Damage from reported tornadoes in Pendleton, Indiana, Monday May 28, 2019. (Photo provided by JB Privett)
Damage Recovery Tips
Pendleton Storm Damage
Pendleton Storm Damage
Pendleton Storm Damage - Courtesy Luke Renner
Pendleton Tornado forming - Courtesy Brooke Gosser-Moulton
Pendleton Tornado forming - Courtesy Amy Meadows
Pendleton Tornado forming - Courtesy Amy Meadows

PENDLETON, Ind. (WTHR) — The town of Pendleton was heavily damaged by storms that blew through Monday evening, including two reports of tornadoes.

The tornadoes were reported at 8:13 p.m. and 8:21 p.m. near I-69 on the north side of Pendleton. The National Weather Service may visit the area on Tuesday to conduct a storm assessment survey.

Pendleton Heights High School opened as a shelter overnight. Madison County EMA spokesperson Todd Harmeson said about 20 people have gone there since it opened.

Crews worked overnight to restore power to the area for more than 4,000 residents. During a 9 a.m. press briefing, Harmeson said Pendleton Power and Light expected some customers to have electricity restored Tuesday, some before lunch time. At the time, Pendleton Power and Light had 3,500 customers without power.

Duke Energy expected to restore their customers' power by late Tuesday evening. However Harmeson said there would still be customers without power for the next day or two, especially in rural areas.

Harmeson urged residents to stay inside their homes and not try to survey any damage yet, as there are still power lines down and it's unclear which ones are live. Electrocution is still a risk. There is still a Shelter in Place for Pendleton. Resident will be able to assess damage to their homes after that shelter in place lifts.

The county also warned of potential scammers who offer to make repairs to damaged homes. Law enforcement will be out patrolling these scammers.

At the time, Madison County said volunteers should not try to assist with cleanup. When the county is ready for nongovernment agencies to help with cleanup, they'll be notified.

Harmeson asked people who do not live in Madison County to stay away from the area and said police are surrounding the perimeter to keep people out.

LIVE: Jennie Runevitch has a Pendleton storm damage update.

Posted by WTHR-TV on Monday, May 27, 2019

Eyewitness News had crews in Madison County Tuesday morning. They saw damage to the United Methodist Church and the roofs of several homes.

Some streets were impassable due to debris.

Viewer Amy Meadows shared video of a possible tornado forming in Pendleton.

We also received a video from Brooke Gosser-Moulton of the tornado in Pendleton:

Luke Renner shared video of the damage in Pendleton:

Emergency management officials are conducting a house-to-house "search and rescue" mission in Pendleton. Eyewitness News reporters in Pendleton say trees are down on many streets in town. According to the Madison County EMA, most roads in town are closed and there are widespread power outages.

The damaging storm moved into the Pendleton area around 8 p.m.

Employees at a McDonald's restaurant in Pendleton told Eyewitness News they got into the store's freezer with customers after seeing "multiple funnel clouds." The storm passed with no damage to the restaurant, though the power appeared to be out.

Crews said around 9:30 they were still trying to get control of the damage in Pendleton.

"It's everywhere," one man told Eyewitness News.