TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – Last year on November 17, there were 30 tornadoes that touched down in Indiana. The largest tornado was rated an EF-3, which touched down about five miles southeast of Lafayette.
News 18 Chief Meteorologist Chad Evans said it was that tornado that hit voestalpine Rotec Inc. off U.S. 52.
“All along its path, most of the damage was EF-1, but it seemed to peak strength right on the southeast side of Lafayette,” said Evans.
According to a survey conducted by the National Weather Service, there was significant damage to the company with estimated peak wind speeds at 140 miles per hour.
voestalpine Rotec Inc. President Andrew Ball said it is a day he will never forget.
“It was just a mess. It was things you could never ever imagine that you had to look for,” said Ball.
Ball said most of the damage occurred in the manufacturing area of the building. The company built a new manufacturing center behind the building and will make the old location a parking lot. He said the front of the building will become a new break and locker room for employees.
“Employees have just been fabulous though this entire situation. They’ve been very flexible. They’ve done a great job working with us. One of the things to sort of repay that was to build a new facility on the front here,” said Ball.
Ball said about 80 percent of the damages are repaired. He said the new manufacturing building should be completed in about four weeks.
“It has gone as well as it could be expected. We had a terrible winter and it’s been a pretty wet spring which has held things up, but everybody is making good progress,” said Ball.
Ball said the estimated cost for all the repairs is about $10 million dollars. The company plans to have all the construction finished by October and have a reopening celebration.