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Tornado Cleanup, Recovery Continues In Montgomery, Greene And Mercer Counties

Tornado damage in Celina
Jason Reynolds
Celina, in Mercer County, was particularly hard hit by Monday night's tornado.

Cleanup continues again today after Monday’s massive tornado outbreak across Indiana and Ohio. The storms killed at least one person and injured dozens more across the Miami Valley. Gov. Mike DeWine has declared a state of emergency for three counties: Montgomery, Greene and Mercer.

Celina, in Mercer County, was particularly hard hit. Jakob Wenning lives there. He says he saw the roof of his apartment lift during the tornado.

“As soon as I went to look into the bathroom, the window blew out,” he says. “Glass rained everywhere. This big chunk of wood come through our window [glass breaks]. I’m really happy we didn’t go in here. And about the time we went to go into this closet, this whole ceiling sucked up, and we could see daylight, and then it came back down.”

Erik Rutledge grew up in Celina, and traveled back to his childhood home, where his mother still lives, to help with recovery efforts. The house was virtually leveled by the storm.

“And then coming up to the street and seeing that’s it not here anymore, it’s kind of hard to take in. And then looking around and seeing all the other neighbors that you grew up with, and their houses are destroyed as well. So, it’s just… Unreal, to say the least,” says Rutledge.

In Beavercreek, a section of North Fairfield Road between Kemp and the Mall at Fairfield Commons continues to be closed to traffic as crews clear the street of trees, downed wires and traffic signals.  Businesses along North Fairfield sustained significant damage as well.

Beavercreek Fire Marshall Randy Grogan describes the areas most affected, “The path of the tornado was pretty much a distinct area in the northern part, north of Kemp Road, so the damage is pretty much confined to that area.”


Apartments in Beavercreek affected by tornado damage
Credit Mike Frazier / WYSO
In Beavercreek, business and residential structures suffered damage.

Residential neighborhoods were also hit by the storm as whole trees and roofing material were brought down by the high winds.  Mary Kaye drove to Beavercreek to check on her brother and describes what she saw.

"There’s trees, there’s houses, it’s like toothpicks everywhere.  He’s safe, he’s ok.  The barn’s gone.  The fence is all down.  We had three trees in the front yard and four or five in the backyard.  They’re all gone but the house is still standing and its still there.” 

Trotwood also sustained significant damage. Emergency workers are urging residents to stay out of tornado-damaged areas as recovery efforts continue.

Nearly 400 out of state crews are working with Dayton Power and Light to restore electrical service in the Miami Valley. More than 30,000 DPL customers are still without power today.

Power outages have halted water service in much of Montgomery County.  Dayton officials say results are expected soon from Ohio Environmental Protection Agency drinking water quality tests. A boil advisory remains in effect until further notice.

Wastewater is being temporarily redirected into the Stillwater River due to the loss of power.

At a press conference Tuesday, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley says residents in affected areas can pick up free bottled water and other assistance from multiple locations around the city.

“Making sure that people have adequate water and shelter is key there water distribution sites located throughout the region including several in the most impacted areas in Dayton.”

The city has launched a special website to distribute information related to the city’s tornado-recovery efforts. Anyone looking to help is asked to donate bottled water, money and food. For more information visit  dayton-ohio.gov/tornado-response

Dayton Fire Chief Jeffrey Payne says search and rescue efforts are completed. Considering the magnitude of the tornadoes in Dayton and the subsequent damage to dozens of homes and business across the city, Payne says he’s thankful more people weren’t hurt or killed.

“But let’s have a good takeaway: there were no fatalities, and we had four minor injuries resulting from a collapse, three minor injuries resulting from flying debris and then four illnesses as a result of the tornadoes”

Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding America initiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.
Juliet Fromholt is proud to be music director at 91.3FM WYSO. Juliet began volunteering at WYSO while working at WWSU, the student station at her alma mater, Wright State University. After joining WYSO's staff in 2009, Juliet developed WYSO’s digital and social media strategy until moving into the music director role in 2021. An avid music fan and former record store employee, Juliet continues to host her two music shows, Alpha Rhythms and Kaleidoscope, which features studio performances from local musicians every week. She also co-hosts Attack of the Final Girls, a horror film review podcast.
Jerry began volunteering at WYSO in 1991 and hosting Sunday night's Alpha Rhythms in 1992. He joined the YSO staff in 2007 as Morning Edition Host, then All Things Considered. He's hosted Sunday morning's WYSO Weekend since 2008 and produced several radio dramas and specials . In 2009 Jerry received the Best Feature award from Public Radio News Directors Inc., and was named the 2023 winner of the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors Best Anchor/News Host award. His current, heart-felt projects include the occasional series Bulletin Board Diaries, which focuses on local, old-school advertisers and small business owners. He has also returned as the co-host Alpha Rhythms.
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