Teen critically hurt, 3 adults wounded as winds collapse Brownsburg retail construction

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (WISH) — A juvenile was critically injured and three adults were wounded Monday afternoon when winds from a storm damaged a partially built strip mall and gas station, police said.

Emergency crews were called to a structure collapse shortly before 3:45 p.m. Monday in a commercial area under construction at the intersection of Northfield Drive and State Road 267.

“We did have incredible wind as well as a tremendous amount of rain,” said Ryan Miller, deputy chief of operations for the Brownsburg Fire Territory. “The storm was short-lived but when it came through it came through with quite a bit of power.”

Miller said all four people were taken to area hospitals. Miller said the juvenile was taken to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

News 8’s Dan Klein did a Facebook Live from the scene.

Sunny Singh, the owner of Singh Construction, said the teen was part of the framing subcontractor’s crew on the site. As of Monday night, he said the teen was “out of danger” but would remain at Riley for the night.

Singh said the strong winds came at the wrong time of construction and nothing else could be done.

But, Miller said there were plenty of warning sights and sounds which could have helped prevent injuries.

“We had a good amount of thunder and lightning that was visible in the area prior to the storm,” Miller said. “So anytime you hear thunder, you see that much lightning, of course, we would always encourage anybody to try to take shelter whenever possible.”

Miller said the the building inspector for Brownsburg was on the scene after the collapse and will likely investigate as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration might as well.

Authorities told the National Weather Service that tree limbs also were downed by the 60 mph winds in the area of the Brownsburg building collapse as storms moved through.

The structure collapse came about 13 minutes after the weather service issued a “significant weather advisory” that included Hendricks County. The advisory suggested winds in excess of 40 mph were possible with the approaching storm. The storm also included frequent cloud-to-ground lightning, the advisory said.

About 10 minutes after the structure collapse in Brownsburg, the weather service issued a severe thunderstorm warning, which lasted until 4:27 p.m.

Firefighter Kevin Byron, public information officer with the Brownsburg Fire Territory, had initially said one person was critically injured and two other people were wounded but walking. He also said a number of homes are being built in the area.

As part of its Monday afternoon storm damage reports, the National Weather Service said:

  • A tree “snapped” at the National Weather Service officers near Indianapolis International Airport.
  • In Clermont on the Marion County’s northwest side, a trained weather spotter reported tree limbs with a 1-foot diameter were downed.
  • A trainer spotter in Boggstown in Shelby County reported a healthy tree with a truck of 10 inches in diameter was knocked down.

The storm also brought significant power outages.

Indianapolis Power & Light reported 19,818 customers without power shortly about 5:15 p.m.

About 4:45 p.m., Duke Energy had 15,575 customers without power, including 3,653 in Morgan County; 2,287 in Johnson; 1,705 in Monroe; and 1,141 in Hendricks.