GOODLAND, Ind. (WLFI) - The small town of Goodland, Indiana is in shock Tuesday after its water tower crumbled to the ground late Monday night.
Derrick Graveson thought he was just taking the dog for a quick walk before turning in for the night. He wasn't prepared to be running for his life.
"As I started to come around the corner, I could hear water dripping off the water tower," Gravesen said.
Gravesen's midnight stroll with his dog turned terrifying quickly.
"I could tell (the water) was coming from the top. And, all of a sudden, it started to crash down. I could see sparks. I took off running that way towards the creek," Gravesen said.
He and his dog were fine, but not much can be said for the water tower or any of the property around it in Goodland.
"It looks like a bomb went off," said Goodland Town Council President Jim Butler.
As all the metal came crumbling to the ground, so did 250,000 gallons of water. It rushed north, covering a small parking lot used for racing with mud and damaging a lot of homes along the way. Many houses had siding ripped off. The rush of water caused an electrical fire at a house south of the tower. It was put out quickly and no one was hurt. Fences were knocked down and sheds moved feet from where they had stood for years.
"I thought a plane hit it," said Goodland resident Mike Mielke.
He lives across the street from the tower, about 75 yards to the west.
"Water gushed across (across the sidewalk) and blew all the gravel across (into the yard)," he said.
His neighbor Jeremy Joseph has even more damage. The rocks busted a window and pebbles, mud and sand are caked on his siding. His lawn mower is covered with leaves, grass and mud.
"It shook my house pretty hard," Joseph said.
Butler said the tower was built between 1960 and 1962. He said the tower is serviced, cleaned and inspected every five years.
"It was coming up next summer for another routine, but we had no indication there was any problems at all with the tower," he explained.
Engineers are still trying to figure out how the water tower turned into twisted metal. Even though the town of about 1,000 people is under a boil order and can't drink their water for the next few days, some said it could be worse.
"I have three kids that live with me. Little boys. I don't know what they could have done if that would have happened in the daytime," Joseph said.
It's a disaster that could have been a tragedy.
Butler said the town is bringing portable tanks to store water just in case there is a fire or other emergency.
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