Storm damages Cassopolis family's home, levels garage


A Cassopolis family had some very frightening moments Sunday afternoon.

WSBT's Kelli Stopczynski was the first reporter on scene of some significant damage directly across the street from Cassopolis High School, near Diamond Lake.

The family was inside their home when the storm hit, and luckily they are safe tonight.

"The rain started coming really heavy, the winds picked up and I could hear inside my headyou know, you get the pressure built up," explained homeowner Rick Bruens. "My ears started to want to pop. I just yelled, told everybody to get downstairs."

"We didn't have time to get the animals or anything. We just flew. And we were scared," added his wife, Karrie.

"As soon as we hit the top of the basement steps, we could hear glass breaking inside," Rick continued.

The Bruens, along with their 17-year-old daughter Mandy huddled, terrified in the basement of their home.

"We were all shaking like leaves," Karrie recalled.

Outside, the storm ripped part of the roof off their house, uprooted trees and cleared their neighbor's fence. All the equipment for Rick's tent rental business and four cars were inside the garage.

"I think it was probably a tornado that wasn't touching the ground," Rick told WSBT.

Just across the Cassopolis High School parking lot from the Bruens' home, one of Cindy and Bobbie Mikel's barns collapsed.

"The trees went down, barn went down and the poor dog was underneath everything there," Cindy said. "We finally seen him and got out and got him."

The dog survived but was injured. The Mikels lost a lot.

"I have a '57 T-bird in there that's worth about $57,000 underneath that friggin' barn," Cindy said.

In the aftermath, friends, family and neighbors started showing up.

"I am so grateful. You can't even imagine," Karrie said, tears filling her eyes.

Soon, a tarp was secured over the Bruens' roof and some of the debris picked up for the Mikels.

And when the clouds broke, they were all thankful for each other and the fact that no one was hurt.

"Luckily, it's all replacable," Rick said.