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3 dead, others injured in Logan County after tornadoes

a shed damaged by the tornado with the roof off
Shay Frank
A suspected tornado damaged buildings and homes around Logan County on March 14, 2024.

Severe storms and tornadoes ripped through western Ohio on Thursday night, leaving a trail of destruction.

Here's what we know now:

  • At least three people have died.
  • The National Weather Service confirmed at least four tornadoes touched down, including an EF3.
  • Searches continue to make sure no other people were harmed by the tornado.
  • Multiple emergency shelters are available for people who lost their homes.
  • Over 4,400 Logan County homes and businesses were out of power as of 2 p.m. Friday.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine surveyed damage Friday afternoon.
  • This is second round of tornadoes to hit the region in recent weeks after another storm left damage in Clark, Montgomery and Greene counties.

Logan County sheriff’s deputies haven't identified the people who died, saying they're notifying families.
The National Weather Service has confirmed at least four tornadoes touched down, and they may confirm additional tornadoes as they continue to survey.

It’s personal for Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who visited the site Friday afternoon. The day-after destruction survey brought DeWine back nearly 50 years.

“I was in the 1974 Xenia tornado. The building I was in collapsed, and we crawled out of it,” DeWine said. That tornado killed more than 30 people.

DeWine lauded state and local emergency services.

“You talk about Indian Lake, you know, it's a ways from major cities and one of the challenges they had is to get enough ambulances in there as quickly," DeWine said.

Emergency workers are continuing to search for any other victims.

"We did searches last night, more than one time and we felt that it was important today, in the daylight, to go back and recheck those areas on top of those that we couldn't get to," Logan County Sheriff Randall Dodds said Friday morning.

Dodds said some areas they couldn't reach overnight because of gas leaks, and trees and down power lines.

"And we did the best search that we could but there were many places that we couldn't get to. So we are going to check those areas again. Plus there are many places back there that are collapsed and we need to go back with heavy equipment to make sure if there are anybody injured back there or deceased," he said.

First responders from numerous agencies and volunteers have come to the small villages and towns around Indian Lake to offer assistance.

That included Barry Clayton, who lives about 30 miles south and drove up to volunteer on Friday morning. He said his friend’s grandparents were taken to the hospital after the tornado due to a collapsed lung.

“They were calving while this stuff was going on and one of their hay barns, that’s on (State Route) 366 out here, just absolutely looked like they hit a bomb, exploded on it,” Clayton said.

a fence damaged by the tornado and RVs tipped over in a parking lot
Shay Frank
A suspected tornado damaged buildings and homes around Logan County on March 14, 2024.

Deputies have asked for people to avoid the area and to not go around barricades.

On Friday morning, authorities said they were overwhelmed with help and don't need any more volunteers.

"If you have not been contacted directly to assist with search and recovery from local law enforcement, fire & EMS or the EMA please avoid the area of Indian Lake," the sheriff's office posted on its Facebook page.

Multiple shelters are open for people in need: Indian Lake Skating Rink, Indian Lake Schools, Lighthouse Indian Lake Community Church Church of God, Russell’s Point West Liberty Church of God and the Huntsville Fire Department.

Standing inside the Indian Lake High School gymnasium in front of tables full of clothing and other essential items for people who have been impacted by the damage, DeWine said his heart goes out to families who are trying to put things back together and extends sympathies to families who are impacted by the deaths of family members.

The damage is significant.

‘I’m always amazed at the resilience of the people of the state of Ohio. I had the chance to talk to people who had lost their house or lost part of their house or who had been in some way impacted, and to see their spirit, their resilience and their toughness, how strong they are — it’s just absolutely amazing,” DeWine said.

DeWine said the summer season for the popular boating area is almost here but he said people who live there are telling them, “We are coming back.”

Lt. Gov Jon Husted described the damage as “devastation.” State Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) said the local community is coming together and donating necessary items to impacted families.

“Everything from diapers to baby clothes to clothes for adults to toiletries to anything for this community to rebound,” McColley said.

Though there has been infighting in the Ohio House recently, Rep. Jon Cross (R-Findlay), who represents the district in the Ohio House, promised lawmakers in the House and Senate will come together to help Indian Lake recover.

“We are going to get Indian Lake back on its feet as quick as possible. How many nickels, dimes and quarters it is going to take, we are going get the money and we are going to fund and get Indian Lake back on its feet,” Cross said.

Logan County officials confirmed people were killed when a tornado or very high winds tore through the night and hit the Lakeview RV trailer Park in the Indian Lake area, about 50 miles northwest of Columbus.

Matt Bruning with the Ohio Department of Transportation, one of many state and local agencies responding to reports of damage, said Friday morning that they were using snowplows to move trees, limbs and other debris off the roadways.

"We've got several roads closed around Indian Lake at this point. So it's a very busy scene up there," Bruning said.

Statehouse News Bureau Reporters Karen Kasler and Sarah Donaldson also contributed to this story.

Updated: March 15, 2024 at 9:19 AM EDT
This is a breaking news story and will be updated throughout the day.
Shay Frank was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. Before working at WYSO, Shay worked as the Arts Writer for the Blade Newspaper in Toledo, Ohio. In addition to working at the paper, she worked as a freelancer for WYSO for three years and served as the vice president of the Toledo News Guild. Now located back in the Dayton area, Shay is thrilled to be working with the team at WYSO and reporting for her hometown community.
Kaitlin Schroeder (she/her) joined WYSO in 2024 with 10 years of experience in local news. This includes Dayton Daily News, Dayton Business Journal, the Morning Sentinel in Maine, and KosovaLive in Pristina, Kosovo.
Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.