Tornado clean-up volunteers come from New York; police work to prevent looting

HENRYVILLE, IN (WAVE) – Indiana State Police officers are stationed at every entrance to Henryville, allowing only residents, their families, and volunteers into the city.

Inside, the tone of what's happening has changed over the weekend.

"We feel like we have everyone accounted for so we've stopped that search and rescue mode and actually switched into a security mode," said Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin.

Crews and volunteers started cleaning up on Sunday, with some people coming from far away.

"Upstate Rochester, New York," is where Jon Brennan came from.

He and a few others saw the powerful images on the news, packed up some of their heavy equipment, and drove 12 hours.

"The quicker they get back to normal the better it is for everybody," New York volunteer Chuck Andolino told WAVE 3 News.

Getting things back to normal will also help cut down on the opportunity for looting in the city.  A storage shed was also destroyed by Friday's twister, leaving hundreds of items out in the open.

Down the street, valuable copper sits exposed in what once was a bathroom and in one back yard, both a TV and cash register sit out in the open, an opportunity for thieves to cash in.

"It always does get in the back of your mind, but the only time I lock my doors is at night," said Tom Watson.  His home was damaged, but he's still able to live inside.

Extra officers from all around the area are working overtime to keep everyone – and everything – safe.

"We've got state officers, we've got county officers, we've even got city officers who've all volunteered to come down and we've got the National Guard and I'll just tell you this isn't the place to come for mischief because you're going to be caught," Sgt. Goodin said.

A fence now surrounds what's left of this Henryville School and the mangled cars and buses that still remain, as several "No Trespassing" signs make it clear to keep out.

A few streets over, Jamie Purdue's house is damaged, but livable; a blue tarp acts as a makeshift wall.

She said she doesn't fear anyone trying to steal her things in the dark.

"It doesn't bother me.  There's crazy people, yeah, but it doesn't bother me because there's going to be cops everywhere," Purdue said, adding the she also has dogs who will alert her of anything suspicious.

Her biggest concern is comforting her 7-year-old son, who saw the twister in the sky.

"It just went right past the school and broke it," Simon Powell said.

Her family is trying to heal, thankful for the volunteers and free meals.

Elsewhere around the city, signs of phone crews trying to restore spotty reception and even portable toilets are all images that Henryville is working hard to bounce back.

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