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Wednesday Morning Storm Blows Roof Into Career Center Annex

Jennifer Weingart
WVPE Public Radio


A storm came through Elkhart last night causing some damage to a local business and the Elkhart Area Career Center’s Annex.

The worst of the storm blew through in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Some time between 1 and 2 a.m. part of the roof of the Bonnell Aluminum plant on County Road 10 West peeled off and landed on the property, and on top of, the career center annex.

Credit Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio
WVPE Public Radio
A section of Bonnell's roof is still partially attached to the building.

At the time no one was in the annex. About 40 employees were at Bonnell, none were injured.


Louis Bell  is the plant manager at Bonnell. He said the fire department came out to help make sure everyone was safe and everything got shut down properly.

“They came out last night and assisted us through this process and they were very helpful as we went through the plant to do our final search throughout the plant and helping us get the plant shut down and closed up and getting stuff cut off last night.”

Tony Gianesi is the Chief Operating Officer for Elkhart Community Schools.

“AEP’s out here right now and they are actually doing their assessment. That is good news for us, good news for Bonnell as they would certainly like to get back to work. We’d certainly like to get back to education.”

Credit Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio
WVPE Public Radio
The wind was strong enough to blow roof insulation into the fence east of the Career Center Annex.

The annex houses the career center’s construction trades and automotive programs. Gianesi said those students are being accommodated in the career centers main building while the damage is repaired and electric and water service is restored.

Gianesi said they expect repairs to take a couple days. Bell said they did not yet have an estimate for when Bonnell will be back up and running.


National Weather Service Meteorologist Nathan Marsili says Bonnell and the Annex was the only major damage reported.

“The South Bend Airport picked up 40 to 45 miles per hour gusts so it kinda looked like in that 40 to 50 range, maybe localized 50 plus miles per hour.”

There were tree branches and other such debris also brought down by the storm around the area.

Marseli said thunderstorms and rain in late August is pretty typical across the midwest.

After today storms are predicted to peter out for a time. Thursday will be cooler before it heats up again of Friday and Saturday with storms predicted again across the area on Sunday.