Seven people had to be helped out of a house in Cedarville after a tornado destroyed it, a second house and several other buildings Wednesday afternoon.
The National Weather Service will be in Cedarville this morning to survey the storm damage to determine the category of the tornado.
Xenia City Manager Brent Merriman said fire and medic crews from Xenia were dispatched to reports of storm damage at Weimer and Barber roads. Skywarn weather spotters confirmed that a tornado touched down in that area at about 6:12 p.m.
According to Cedarville police, the seven were in the basement when the storm hit. All had to be extricated and all are OK, police said.
One of the houses destroyed belonged to Roger Dobbins, 71. The other was his daughter's. They all were trapped inside for nearly 30 minutes after the tornado. Dobbins said he was watching coverage of the storm on WHIO-TV Channel 7 until his satellite went out at his home in the 4200 block of Barber Road.
"I saw it coming directly toward us," he said. "I could hear a lot of racket. My ears popped."
Dobbins said he and six other people were in the basement: his wife, daughter, a friend of his daughter's, and her three children.
More than a dozen fire trucks and emergency vehicles were sent to the Dobbins farm.
Corey Atley, a resident who observed damage near his home outside Cedarville, said a nearby silo also was severely damaged and a hog barn was flattened. Atley estimated the tornado left a swath of debris four miles long, 200 to 300 yards wide.
Cedarville police Chief Chris Gillaugh said, "For me, actually seeing the thing was unbelievable. You watch it on television and you see them on television all the time. But to see it and actually know that it's destroying places and things, you have a whole other respect for it."
In Xenia, on North Stringtown Road in New Jasper Twp., the storm and possible straight line winds uprooted trees and ripped the roof off a barn. Dennis Mick, who experienced the 1974 Xenia tornado, said he took cover as soon as he heard the storm blowing in.
"I saw branches swirling through the air and we ran to the basement. There was a roaring sound," he said.
Pieces of his aluminum and timber barn were scattered hundreds of yards across his property and wooden beams were driven straight into the ground by the force of the winds. Some shingles were torn off his home, but Mick said for the most part the house is intact and he and his wife are safe.
Across the street, high winds rolled a trailer at least 50 feet, ripping off the back of the vehicle and scattering its contents across the front lawn.
In neighboring Clark County, Chief Chris Clark, Madison Twp. Fire and EMS, was thinking about the folks in Greene, even after he saw the twister touch down west of Selma at about 5:45 p.m. There were no reports of damage.
"We send prayers out to the families and the people who are affected by the storm in Cedarville and wish them the best. If there's anything we can do to lend assistance, we're ready to go," Clark said.
Wednesday night, New Jasper Twp. fire department crews were surveying damage to assist residents with filing insurance claims in the wake of the storm.
The National Weather Service in Wilmington said a risk of flash flooding remains in effect until 2 p.m. Thursday. NWS representatives are expected to survey the area Thursday and determine the strength of the tornado.