IMAGE: UNIVERSITY BASILICA WITH SPIRE MISSING
Marcus Marter  /  AP
A spire is missing from the lower left side of the steeple of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame, after it fell during a severe storm that rolled through South Bend, Ind., Tuesday night.
updated 5/16/2007 6:01:01 PM ET 2007-05-16T22:01:01

A powerful storm toppled a small spire from the University of Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart and left more than 16,000 people without power Wednesday.

One person died when a tree fell on his car.

At Notre Dame, one of four smaller spires that surround the basilica’s main spire fell about 60 feet to the ground, bringing with it some bricks and mortar. No one was injured.

“That’s a fairly significant amount of damage to one of the university’s most important landmarks,” spokesman Dennis Brown said. Several large trees on campus also were damaged, he said.

The Tuesday evening storm brought heavy rain and wind up to 70 mph to LaPorte and St. Joseph counties, the National Weather Service said. Several people reported seeing funnel clouds, and the weather service was trying to confirm whether any tornadoes touched down.

There were reports of trees falling on cars and homes across northern Indiana and into Ohio and Michigan, meteorologist Patrick Murphy said. The storm initially knocked out power to 52,000 customers of Northern Indiana Public Service Co. About 16,000 customers, most in Gary and Portage, remained without electricity Wednesday, the company said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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