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Snow brings down roof

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Snow from Wednesday's blizzard collapsed part of the roof of Edmundson's RV in Edinburgh. No one was in the building at the time, said Edinburgh Police Chief David Mann.
Submitted photo by Edinburgh Police Chief David Mann.
Snow from Wednesday's blizzard collapsed part of the roof of Edmundson's RV in Edinburgh. No one was in the building at the time, said Edinburgh Police Chief David Mann. Submitted photo by Edinburgh Police Chief David Mann.

A 50-inch accumulation of heavy, drifting snow partially collapsed the roof of an Edinburgh business during Wednesday’s storm. Additionally, a four-inch water main and a gas line at Edmundson RV sales ruptured.

No injuries were reported, as the building at 14501 U.S 31 North was not occupied at the time of the collapse, Edinburgh Police Chief David Mann said.

Rudy Hampton, manager at Edmundson RV, said the roof that collapsed was in one of the company’s four service bays, which are mostly used for vehicle storage. At the time of the collapse there were two drivable RVs and a trailer, all owned by the company, that received largely cosmetic damage, Hampton said.

“We made a determination to close because of the blizzard,” Hampton said. “There were no employees in the building. We were happy about that.”

Engineers have determined that the cause of the collapse was the sudden snowfall, multiplied by a snowdrift, he said.

Hampton said the company has yet to receive a damage estimate, but it expected it would be significant. Thursday afternoon, crews were in the bay repairing damage from the broken water main. Hampton expected the business to reopen early next month.

Edinburgh and Camp Atterbury received a foot of snow Wednesday, giving them the highest snowfall totals in the Columbus area, according to the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.

On the whole, law-enforcement agencies in south-central Indiana reported only minor damage related to the storm.

Ed Reuter, director of Bartholomew County Emergency Operations Center, said the center handled 618 calls Wednesday. Those included:

n Eight personal-injury traffic accidents.

n 13 property-damage traffic accidents.

n 35 driver slide-offs handled by city officers and county deputies.

n More than 30 driver slide-offs handled by the Indiana State Police.

n 17 people injured in a fall.

n 18 possible heart attacks.

Between 6 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department responded to nearly 40 accidents, mostly from slide-offs. Two involved minor injuries.

“Traffic was extremely light. That was a huge plus,” said Major Todd Noblitt, the sheriff’s department’s chief deputy.

Government offices and many businesses were closed Wednesday due to the storm, which dumped about 6.5 inches of snow in Columbus and 8 inches in Hope. Most of those places reopened Thursday.

“It could definitely have been a lot worse,” Noblitt said.

Local insurance agencies, including Beckemeyer Insurance, at 360 Plaza Drive, had not received any calls related to storm damage by Thursday afternoon.

On Wednesday, deputies worked 12-hour shifts, up from their usual eight hours, and at least two deputies rode together, all in four-wheel-drive vehicles. That was essential, Noblitt said, because wind gusts covered county roads in deep snow.

On County Road 1100S, several vehicles got stuck, Noblitt said, and some were rescued by farmers with tractors. An Indiana State trooper also got stuck there Wednesday evening as he responded to a stranded motorist.

On Thursday, the challenge for law enforcement switched to tracking down owners of abandoned vehicles that blocked the paths of snowplows. In some cases, the sheriff’s department left vehicles alone if they did not impede traffic, but some had to be towed.

“We’re trying to make arrangements with owners,” Noblitt said, “but we do have to get the roads plowed.”

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