Emergency crews continue to clear downed power lines and reopen streets in Beavercreek. The city was among the hardest hit in Monday’s widespread tornado outbreak.
The National Weather Service has confirmed an EF-3 tornado with winds up 140 miles an hour struck the Beavercreek area Monday night.
Near Kemp Road and Grange Hall Road, the twister nearly wiped out one residential neighborhood and heavily damaged another. Streets that once featured large, well-established leafy trees are now unshaded.
The storm also affected many businesses along North Fairfield Road. Among them are Mike's Car Wash, which was leveled. The recently opened Aldi’s Food Market remains closed. Some retailers sustained major damage. Others saw broken windows. Parking lots are littered with storm debris.
In all, the city reports nearly 600 homes and apartments were damaged. The Gardenview neighborhood was one that saw massive destruction.
"There are whole houses that are gone, driveways leading nowhere, steps going up to the front door that isn't there any longer," says City Manager Pete Landrum. "Total devastation, a lot of roofs just totally gone, houses fallen on each other. One house had a roof -- you could tell it lifted up and was replaced back on the house, so it wasn't where it belonged. It's just amazing."
On Monday night, first responders evacuated residents from storm-hit areas in the dark. Vectren crews shut down wide swaths of gas service as many lines ruptured by the tornado were leaking, filling the air with the smell of gas. The city declared a state of emergency.
Some of the most severely damaged homes belonged to lifelong elderly Beavercreek residents living on fixed incomes.
Landrum says officials are working to determine how many may have lacked homeowners insurance because their mortgages were long-ago paid off.
“There are going to be a lot of needs. To a lot of people, in a week from now it’s going to be in the back of their mind and they’ll almost have forgotten about it if they don’t live by the area," he says. "This is going to go on for quite a bit of time, it’s going to be an ongoing need, not only for the people that lost everything, but for the city, as our resources are going to be scrambled to try to get those areas of the city back up and running as well.”
Greene County Administrator Brandon Huddleson tells WYSO the county is still working to assess the tornado’s longterm economic impacts. He says the county will apply for state and federal assistance to help pay for damage restoration, staff overtime, and other storm-related expenses.
"However, those will not be known until our recovery efforts have been completed and the totals can be tallied," says Huddleson.
More than 3,000 Greene County residents remain without power, DP&L reports. Many also lack internet or refrigeration.
The Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce has launched a special website with tornado resources for residents and business owners.
Anyone in Greene County in need of help with food, ice, water, storm cleanup and other assistance is also asked to visit the city of Beavercreek’s Facebook page.
The Be Hope Church is also collecting donations and helping to coordinate volunteers to help with storm cleanup.
City officials, volunteers and Beavercreek Police officers are planning to canvass impacted areas this weekend to distribute information on tornado recovery. Residents are also encouraged to visit a temporary tornado-assistance kiosk on Saturday, June 1, to be located at the Spicer Heights Shopping Center.
For more information on tornado assistance, visit WYSO's Resource Page.