CELINA, Ohio (WDTN) – There were two EF2 tornadoes in Mercer County on Sunday. The storms knocked out power to hundreds and left widespread destruction in their wake.
The mayor of Celina has declared a state of emergency. Clean up efforts were underway Monday as the community tried to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of the storm.
Debris littered the ground after strong winds tore the roofs off buildings. The wind sent utility and lamp poles crashing to the ground and on top of buildings.
Aaron’s rental, just one among several businesses that sustained damage. But general manager Dan Dailey said he’s just glad everyone is okay.
“It’s just total devastation that’s all I can say,” Dailey said. “The good thing is no one was seriously injured. No deaths, no nothing. So, thank God for that.”
Officials say the storm also destroyed homes and farms out in the country before tearing through the city’s business district.
Celina Mayor Jeffrey Hazel said thousands were without power at the height of the storm but authorities have restored power to about 90 percent of affecting businesses and homes.
“We realize that there are people without power right now and as the weather drops we are concerned about that,” he said.
“Our staff continues to make those calls back to check on them. If there are folks who need assistance we definitely want you to call as we will also be calling back to check on you.”
Dominion Energy also had to cut gas to several areas as a result of the damage. But the mayor said they’re continuing assessments to get everything turned on as quickly as possible.
Hazel said eight people were injured in the storm, four were taken to hospital. But the injuries are not severe.
“We are blessed there was no loss of life and no extra serious injuries,” Hazel said. “Things can be rebuilt but people are the critical element, here.”
All Celina schools were closed Monday as a result of the storm but local high school seniors banded together to help clean up the community.
“It is kind of hard to look at. Knowing now all the hard time, people in our community have put together to getting all these businesses here and running a small town,” Celina High School student Kyle Bruce said. ” But it’s kind of nice to see everyone all come together.”
Another student, Hunter Lynch said: “It’s mostly Celina High School teachers and students from all grades out here to help just clean up the community and get this done as fast as possible so everybody can get back to their jobs and stuff like that.”