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Winchester school transforms into shelter after tornado

James Lanter said he saw the approaching storm two minutes before a tornado ripped through his home Thursday night.

WINCHESTER, Indiana — Where homes once stood in Winchester, these properties have been reduced to plots of land with debris scattered across them.

James Lanter saw the approaching storm two minutes before he says a tornado ripped through his home Thursday night.

“It’s unimaginable that you’re standing in a house fully furnished with stuff and then the next second it’s all just … pew!” said Lanter.

Lanter said his home was destroyed and he was left with a broken nose and a gash in the back of his head.

“I’ve seen pictures on TV and stuff before, houses like that just blown right down, but now I’ve experienced it firsthand,” said Lanter.

Lanter is just one of the hundreds of people who came to Winchester Community High School Friday for a hot meal or to pick up some donations.

Amber Price said her home was damaged by the tornado, forcing her family to move into the high school.

“Well, first off there was a gas leak in the area and we were told to evacuate the area and then told not to stay. The police had told us we could not stay there. So we were allowed to get things and then get out. And we have no heat, no electricity and it’s not livable without heat because it’s pretty cold right now,” Price said.

But Price said she’s not just going to sit back while everyone helps out.

“Yeah, we had some broken windows, we can’t stay there, but maybe we’re not supposed to stay there. Maybe I’m supposed to be here helping other people that had it worse than me,” explained Price.

Dustin Jackson and his friends live near Dayton Ohio. They brought truckloads of donations to help out their Hoosier family.

“It’s not just a community coming together, it’s just the nation coming together, just helping your brothers and sisters out,” said Jackson.

For those looking to donate, organizers ask for people to hold off on clothes for now. They are asking people to donate monetarily to Community Foundation of Randolph County.

The donation center at the high school will be open all weekend from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.

As for the shelter, it will remain open around the clock.

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