PORTLAND, Ind. (WFFT) — Storms could return to Jay County later in the week. Residents hope they’re not as bad as the tornado that touched down Friday near Bryant.
Chris Ontrop’s farm was one of several tossed around by the tornado.
"I ducked undercover, and five minutes later, I come out and seen what Mother Nature did in a few minutes what it took me 15 years to do," Ontrop said.
Jay County residents say the storm left powerlines down and debris blocking the road, but within hours, the community rallied, with neighbors helping neighbors.
"If it wasn’t for some of the good people that we have in our county, these roads would probably still be partially blocked or not all the way open," said Portland Police Chief Joshua Stephenson.
Stephenson says he saw good samaritans using trucks and saws to clear roads for emergency crews.
Ontrop says he was shocked by how many people showed up to help on his farm alone.
"I had three times the help I probably needed. Everybody just wanted to help and pitch in," Ontrop said. "People, absolute strangers that I’ve never seen in my life, pulled in giving food to feed everybody that was here. I had to turn some away. We had so darn much food, it would’ve went to waste."
Ontrop says he now plans to spend the rest of this week cleaning debris the storm left behind.
Stephenson is just glad no one was seriously hurt.
"This is our second tornado I believe in about five years, and with both of those tornados, we have not seen any injuries, or any significant injuries, or deaths," Stephenson said. "So that’s a big win for our community."
And to keep those injuries down, Portland tested its tornado sirens Wednesday afternoon.
Stephenson says Friday’s tornado wasn’t close enough to the city to set off the sirens then, but Portland will be ready when the time comes.
He says the city normally tests its tornado sirens on Saturdays.
Today’s test was based on community feedback that some people hadn’t heard the weekly tests. He says all city-owned sirens are working.