As we walked up to the building the following day, my heart sank to see the damage. The back corner of the building collapsed on top of a group of people that was at the birthday party. My daughter and her boyfriend were in that group of people. It was a birthday part for a 1yr old and a 3yr old. One we will never forget! Many of the surrounding places were leveled.
Vehicles were tossed around. Dents and busted windows were the lest of our worries when we realized we had survived the tornado.
This is one of the rooms in the facility. It is/was called the toddler room. With chunky toys and soft mats, it was not the place to be when the destruction hit on Sunday!
Down power lines were a big concern with the hail and rain after the tornado passed through. We had to walk through all of this to get to a safe place.
So much loss, yet this tree remains?
Bona Vista's Imagine That! was a place to have children's birthday parties. They had several themed rooms and lots of space to run around. I never would have guessed that this is the building we would be leaving that day when we entered it at 2pm.
The party started at 2pm. We got there and the tables were lined up and the food was ready. The children played and the adults talked. We were laughing and having a great time. Finally it was time. We sung the birthday song and cut the cake. Midway through the cake-eating, we were told that we needed to go to the kitchen in the back of the building. Many grabbed their cake and drinks and we all walked back. Phone notifications were now starting to go off. It was 3:18. My phone was out in the Forester in my unzipped purse sitting on the front seat. We all continued to talk and finish our cake. Some of the children were upset so the director said we could take them to the 'Art Room'. This was a second SAFE ROOM. We were urged to GO NOW if we are going. 3:28 We had no idea the tornado was only moments away from hitting our building. We scurried down the hall and in the Art Room. Some spoke of leaving and got their child and left the room. The director told us we needed to shut the door to the room and she hurried down the hall to the kitchen. Those in the kitchen were told to go into the utility room. This room was much smaller and not everyone could fit. The director then returned to where I was and again said the door must be shut to be considered a SAFE ROOM. The family that we thought left, had returned quickly saying it was hailing and the storm/tornado was coming. Suddenly we heard sounds of building be torn apart and glass breaking. The building trembled and the light flickered. Our door was shut! We sung 'the wheels on the bus go round and round' the lights went out. I yelled, 'GRAB YOUR CHILD!' 3:32
We all grabbed someone or two and held on tight. I was worried about the others in another area of the building. What was happening there? Where I was at, I could feel the tornado pushing and pulling us. I felt the ceiling fall on our back and many other object fell in on us as well. The lady beside me and I was cuddled together with Ethan (my grandbaby) between us. We held on tight and prayed! I don't know exactly what she was saying. I prayed, "Thank you God for your protection through this storm. Please watch over the others and protect us all." As it moved away from us, we all took a second to take a breath and then the adrenaline kicked BACK in. We started searching for each other. The lights were out but the room was lit by the sky. Electrical was dangling, the smell of gas in the room and it was raining and hailing! We immediately made our way out the door. We were in the second room to the right. You can't see the room but it was on the other side of that square metal piece that is laying across the room. The is the window we all crawled out of.
The people in the kitchen and utility late shared that when they started hearing the screaming metal being peeling away from surrounding buildings, they crammed into the room. The last person shut the door and ran down the hall into the restroom barely making it. Within seconds, the utility room collapsed. Bricks fell on the people that were in there, causing head injuries. Almost everyone in the Utility room was injured to some degree but none were unconscious! The man who went to the restroom immediate came back to the utility room and made a path for those to get out. Many of those were already out of the building by the time we got our door open and starting filing out.
There were approximately 15 children there under the age of 7. NONE were scraped up or injured! GOD IS GOOD!!! We had one major head injury in the Art Room. Several major head injuries to the ones in the Utility room. We climbed out the window to see the damage all around us. It was pouring, hailing, cold. We were alive!!! I hugged my kids and praised God. I walked over to my car. My phone... still in my unzipped purse in my front seat! My contents remained, but I also have some extra things. Glass, shingles and wood found it's way into my purse. Just amazing really!!! I called my husband who couldn't get signal. 3:36 Later finding out that he was ok. I grab a few things from my car and we head to a safe place. Later being taken to the hospital for stitches and bandages. 4:15
Several on lookers took photos and drove off. SAD BUT TRUE! Finally ONE van stopped and helped a group get to a safe place. With all of the damage, crews were in areas that was more critical than ours.
The day after is dry. But the day off, I will never forget the way everything looked. Drenched!
It was a long day and a birthday party that will never be forgotten!
Now it is the day after. Damage to my car is clear; however I am still so happy that God spared us. My car was driven to the body shop for estimates and turned in to my insurance.
So much debris inside!
Holes from unknown objects and dents all over!
Busted or cracked windows all around!
Mirrors busted and cracks in body.
Glass throughout the interior and all over the baby's car seat. Yet the books remain in the pouch!
I stopped by Ulta before the party and it appears my purchase remained in the car through the tornado and over night with all the wind and rain! Also the "Something More" song that Kris and I sung in church that morning is still in the same place as before!
Many repairs will have to be made; however no lives were claimed by the Indiana Tornados!
GOD IS SO GOOD!!!