Vanessa Schnieders, 43, who lives on the 1200 block of Valley Street in Old North Dayton, saw a large funnel cloud headed toward her home.
Tree limbs and debris were getting swept up into the sky. Intense winds shook trees and homes and made loud rushing noises.
Schnieders said many of her neighbors were outside, and many don’t have basements. She collected more than 15 of her neighbors, including one resident in a wheelchair who had to be carried inside.
Moments after getting him indoors, his wheelchair blew away.
Everyone inside the home went into the basement. They heard thundering booms and loud crashing noises.
Children screamed, windows shattered. Then suddenly it was dark and eerily silent.
The front part of Schnieders’ home was torn to pieces, and parts of the roof blew away.
Her garage imploded, leaving only the front wall. Her neighbor’s garage is gone.
“It was pure devastation,” Schnieders said.
Dayton Fire Chief Jeffrey Payne said Old North Dayton was clearly the hardest-hit part of Dayton.
“Miraculously, I do not know how this happened, but we are grateful it went around Children’s Hospital,” he said. “It amazes me. It was going in a trajectory straight for the hospital and went in a different direction before it got there.”
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley urged citizens to avoid “gawking” behaviors and follow the response and damage assessment via media. She urged citizens to steer clear of damaged areas unless necessary to avoid interfering with clean up and public safety responses.
In the Old North Dayton neighborhood, there are downed power lines. Street signs lay in the street. Light and electrical poles are bent and crooked.
Porches and patios were obliterated and roofs were torn off.
Garages lay in pieces and tree limbs block roads, driveways and sidewalks.
Yards are full of debris and homes have no power.
“I’ve never seen nothing like it,” Schnieders said. “It was pretty nuts.”
One woman was injured after stepping on a nail on her way to see her children, who were in Schnieders’ basement.
Schnieders said next steps are to clean and rebuild. Her home is insured. She said she’s just glad no one was killed.
Some businesses in Old North Dayton have lost roof shingles. Some have gates that were uprooted and falling over.
Mary Brown, 70, has lived at 52 Urbana St. for 34 years.
Brown was in her bedroom when the storm hit. Her windows exploded, and air shot through her home.
“I thought the house was going to explode,” she said.
Her front porch was severely damaged by the storm, including a brick pillar that was torn off. Some of the siding and roof shingles were pulled off.
Her next door neighbor’s roof was completely ripped off. No one lives in the one-story home, but the owner has been working on the home with plans to sell it, she said.
Brown said her home was not insured. She said hopefully her nephew will help repair the home. She said she might soon move into an apartment.
“It could have been worse,” she said.
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