One week after derecho, damage is still far from cleaned up

Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 3:36 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - People on Fort Wayne’s southwest side are still cleaning up the damage from last Monday’s derecho as part of a process they expect will take several weeks.

“It was a really scary storm,” Carmen Vazqez said. “We were sitting in the living room and we just heard these trees come down.”

When you look around, you might think a storm blew through the area just yesterday. However, this is the damage from last Monday’s derecho. Tree service crews are hard at work and neighbors like Vazqez are still dragging tree limbs into a pile, so that she can ultimately get rid of them.

“We have a big mess,” Vazqez said. “We had at least four big trees come down, because the prices are so high we’ve had to do it ourselves. I hope the city will pick this up, but we’ve been cleaning ever since.”

Vazqez showed us the damage in her backyard. Debris is scattered everywhere and a branch was still sitting on her roof.

“What happened is the other trees from here came down and as they came down they fell around the house and they never touched the house at all,” Vazqez said.

Vazqez says while she’s frustrated that she’s still having to clean up even a week later, she knows that it could’ve been much worse. She says she knows there was someone looking down on her.

“I prayed,” Vazqez sad. “I was like ‘please god, just spare my house,’ and he did. I’m grateful that nothing happened.”

Vazqez is inspired to see the community come together. Just down the street, tree service contractors like Chase Miller and his team, have been busier than ever.

“This whole neighborhood in Fort Wayne got demolished,” Miller said. “Probably a lot more work to come.”

Miller has been in business now for a year and a half. The past week, he’s seen it all and it’s been a challenge.

“There’s been a lot of uprooted trees and stuff,” Miller said. “Just cleaning up is the main part, just getting rid of it all is a lot of work.”

As the neighborhood wraps up a week of cleanup, people living there are grateful that the mess around their homes will disappear soon.

“Everybody’s been really great,” Vazqez said. “I’m just really happy here.”

Neighbors say they expect clean up to take several more weeks, but they’re thankful they’re still able to live in their homes.

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