This farm on Rogers Road in Ross Twp., Greene County, sustained heavy damages from the May 27 tornado. RICHARD WILSON/STAFF

Neighbors help Greene County farmers after tornado damage

A few farms northeast of Jamestown were hit hard by the Memorial Day tornado outbreak, but neighbors are rallying to help remove debris, take care of animals and plant crops.

Piles of mangled metal siding and wooden boards can be seen on a few properties along Rogers Road in Ross Twp., where an EF 2 tornado was on the ground for approximately nine minutes, covering a little more than four miles.

Barns were destroyed and animals were hurt in the storm on the Barron family’s 356-acre farm at the corner of Rogers and Sheeley roads.

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“It was all dark, you couldn’t see nothing, but there was a bunch of lightning, so it was like daylight outside,” said 13-year-old Daniel Barron, who hunkered down in the basement with his parents, sister and dogs as the frightening events unfolded.

“We were just sitting there. The light bulbs grew like really bright red and then sparks shot across the basement,” Daniel said. “When we got back up, our neighbor said he saw the lightning strike our house and there were like four foot of flames coming out of the ground.”

Daniel’s mother Ruth Barron said when they went outside, they saw a power line from down the road was twice wrapped around their home, which was now leaning to one side.

“About everything we have has some kind of damage to it,” including all of their vehicles and multiple farming machines and equipment, Ruth said.

The family raises cows, and two that were 4-H projects for the children were sheltered in a barn that was destroyed.

The animals were shaken but otherwise OK. The bovines are being cared for at a friend’s farm.

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Two calves suffered deep cuts from flying debris and are being closely monitored and cared for.

With help from neighbors, the Barrons have mostly cleaned up the downed trees and other debris that littered the property after the storm. Ruth said neighbors are also helping them plant soy beans and spray the fields, but they’re not sure if and when they’ll get their wheat fields producing.

It’s unclear if they’ll be able to save the home, but one thing’s for sure, they’re not going anywhere.

“We will stay here. It’s a great place to live, and we have wonderful neighbors, and that means a lot,” Ruth said.

Down the road about a quarter mile sits Wyatt Jones’ farm. Much of the roof of the farmhouse is gone. A silo was destroyed as well as a feed and storage shed for his animals.

On Thursday, neighbor Julie Bradds stopped by to drop some bread off for Jones, who wasn’t home. She placed the bread on the front porch among several cases of water and storage bins donated by volunteers.

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Bradds said the tornado just missed their property. She said the storm sounded just like a train passing through.

“I was asleep. Just went to bed. My husband said, ‘Get up. It’s bad,’” Bradds said. “We saw the damage to our neighbors properties the next day. We were just lucky and blessed.”

Yard debris can be hauled to the Greene County Environmental Services Recycling Complex, 2145 Greene Way Blvd. in Xenia. Construction debris can be hauled to Xenia Demolition Landfill, 610 Dayton-Xenia Road, or to the Montgomery County Transfer Facility, 1001 Encrete Lane, Moraine.

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