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Homeowners struggle for repairs after Martinsville tornadic storm

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Labor force shortages and supply chain issues have been challenges for Hoosiers trying to get home repairs done after tornadoes ripped through Indiana on March 31.

Now, some Hoosiers are fighting with their insurance companies. 

Anthony Bruce, a resident in Martinsville, sought help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration. “I’m in a pretty dire situation at this point because I have had to reach out to FEMA and to SBA to potentially fix this on my own dime, even though I pay my premiums monthly.”

Bruce says his insurance company isn’t covering the storm damage to his roof. He qualified for an SBA loan to fix his roof. 

He says high winds damaged the roof a few days before the tornado did even more damage. The wind had peeled shingles off on a half-dozen places along the front of his house, exposing the wood decking that protects the house.

He says the shingles are 22 years old and near the end of their expected service life. Contractors have told him they can’t make partial repairs because the existing shingles are brittle and torn. So, he is faced with replacing the entire roof.

Many of his neighbors, who have different insurance companies, have had roofs replaced and damage repaired.

I-Team 8 was told another neighborhood about a half-mile from Bruce’s house had several homes damaged by the storm. Many of the homes have new roofs, and a pile of roofing material is sitting in the front yard of another home waiting for the workers.

On Monday, contractors were putting on gutters and finishing the repairs to a duplex that had been heavily damaged by the tornadoes.

Right around the corner was another house covered with tarps waiting for repairs.

From the street, the damage to Bruce’s home may not look as bad as some of his neighbors, but, he says, the longer his roof goes without repairs, the more damage that is done to the wood-frame home.  

“I’m at the point where I’m running out of time,” Bruce said.  

The estimates to repair the roof were around $11,000. Bruce’s SBA loan will cover the cost, but he hopes he doesn’t have to use it.