Tornado Damage Extends To Hocking County | WOSU Radio

Tornado Damage Extends To Hocking County

May 28, 2019

Tornadoes that rolled through Dayton and Celina on Monday night made national headlines and are blamed for at least one death, but people closer to Central Ohio also dealing with damage as well.

The area just north of Laurelville in Hocking County was also hit by a tornado. It left behind downed trees and mangled bits of houses and barns, which were strewn all over fields and wrapped around electricity poles.

Asa Holzschuh, who lives outside of Laurelville, and his extended family were picking up pieces of debris and assessing the damage to his house Tuesday morning. The tornado blew his neighbor’s roof off and threw it into Holzschuh’s house. It sent a board through the back of his camper, buckled his garage door and tore off shingles and downspouts.

Holzschuh says after his wife got them to the basement, all the damage happened in about a minute.

“We got the kids and right as I stepped on the basement floor, I heard the windows start breaking,” Holzschuh said. “It was real intense for probably 30, 45 seconds, and then it was just like they shut the switch off.”

Laurelville Fire Department captain Dan Reichelderfer says the tornado touched down somewhere along the Hocking County line, near South Perry Road, and continued up and down hills past Jack Run Road. Now, it’s been more than 12 hours since the storm rolled through, and emergency management folks are focusing on getting people back to their houses.

A tornado tore off Lee Stanton's roof and threw it into his neighbor's house.
Credit Olivia Miltner / WOSU

“Everyone’s good, no one is hurt, thank goodness. My neighbor, talked to him, everybody that I know that has a lot of damage, everybody’s O.K.,” Holzschuh said. “No one got hurt, so that’s the main thing. All this can be fixed.”

Reichelderfer says he’s only seen cuts and bruises, and no severe injuries have been reported. But he estimates that the tornado damaged more than 20 properties. The storm also cut off power across large parts of Hocking County.

Reichelderfer says today he’s focused on assessing the damage and getting roads open, which are blocked by downed power lines and trees.

In addition to one death, the Miami Valley tornados also injured dozens. The two near Dayton tore houses in half, leveled buildings, and left folks trapped by debris. Western Ohio communities are dealing with gas leaks, downed power lines and limited water, so the recovery process could take a while.  

In contrast, the areas hit by the tornado in Hocking County were pretty rural, so the damage, while widespread, didn’t have the same impact as in other denser cities and suburbs. Plus, the area is hilly, and Holzschuh said the tornado jumped from one place to another as it moved through the county, leaving some patches untouched.