Xenia tornado devastation experienced in gritty black-and-white photos 43 years later

Published: Friday, March 31, 2017 @ 10:37 AM

A series of dramatic photographs from the Dayton Daily News archive documents in gritty black and white the devastation left in Xenia by a 1974 tornado.

A collection of dramatic photographs from the Dayton Daily News archive documents - in gritty black and white - the devastation a tornado left in Xenia on April 3, 1974.

Gripping images of the 1974 Xenia tornado.

A series of violent tornadoes wreaked havoc in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. The system was part of “Super Outbreak,” according to the National Weather Service, which documented 148 tornadoes in 13 states in the eastern United States. 

The deadliest twister in the outbreak, an F-5, descended on Greene County, bulldozing a path a half-mile wide. When it was over, 33 people were dead and more than 1,300 were injured.

A mother and daughter run throuhg the rubble that had been their home in the Arrowhead sub division of Xenia Ohio. A second tornado warning had just been given and many of the survivors just ran in panic.Photo by Ed Roberts(Eddie H. Roberts/Dayton Daily Ne)

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The images, taken 43 years ago, are a legacy of the tornado’s wrath. 

A black sky looms over homes in a residential neighborhood in a dramatic photograph taken shortly before the tornado touched down. That image, taken moments before the annihilation began, is in sharp contrast to an aerial photo of homes and businesses smashed to the ground the next day.

Expressions, some alarmed and some dazed, are captured on the faces of Xenia residents trying to escape the destruction, giving aid to others, and exploring their ruined town that no longer seemed familiar. 

» RELATED: A look back at 5 tornadoes that struck the Miami Valley in 2016

» INTERACTIVE: Path of destruction of 17 tornadoes in 1974

On April 3, 1974 an F-5 tornado tore through the heart of Xenia, killing 33 people and injuring more than 1,300 others. It bulldozed a path more than a half-mile wide, destroying or damaging more than 1,400 buildings, including 1,200 homes, dozens of businesses, 10 churches, and several schools. By the time it lifted into the sky near Cedarville, it left behind more than $100 million of damage in Greene County. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE

Train cars were tossed on their sides, schools and grocery stores were destroyed and limbs were ripped from trees leaving bare and broken trunks. 

A photograph of a quaint home, curtains fluttering in the windows, reveals an everyday living room with a couch in front of a television set topped by rabbit ears and books neatly placed on shelves in a second floor bedroom. 

The only thing missing from this mundane scene is the exterior wall of the home, ripped off to expose everyday life.

» RELATED: ‘Xenia Lives’ decades after the tornado

» RELATED: ‘The sky was a color I could not remember seeing before’: Community shares stories of 1974 Xenia tornado

This scene was photographed near Warner Junior High School on April 25, 1974. On April 3, 1974 an F-5 tornado tore through the heart of Xenia, killing 33 people and injuring more than 1,300 others. It bulldozed a path more than a half-mile wide, destroying or damaging more than 1,400 buildings, including 1,200 homes, dozens of businesses, 10 churches, and several schools. By the time it lifted into the sky near Cedarville, it left behind more than $100 million of damage in Greene County. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE

A hand-painted sign, photographed in front of a gutted Warner Junior High School, summed up the resilience of the community, “With the help of the Lord, good friends and hard work, we shall return.”

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Trotwood police investigating claim of a shooting at Shell station in Drexel

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 10:41 PM

Trotwood police are investigating a person's claim of being shot and wounded at the Shell station in the 6100 block of West Third Street in Drexel. 

According to Montgomery County Regional Dispatch, Miami Valley Hospital officials notified police about 8:50 p.m. that a person walked into the hospital claiming to have been shot. 

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When the shooting is believed to have occurred is not certain and there is no information about the gender of the person. 

The vehicle the person was in has been seized at the hospital by police, according to regional dispatch. 

We are working to learn more about this incident. Stay with whio.com for breaking news. 

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com 

PBS suspends ‘Tavis Smiley’ show amid sexual misconduct investigation

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 7:04 PM

Who Is Tavis Smiley?

PBS has suspended the “Tavis Smiley” show following allegations of sexual misconduct between Smiley and former production staffers.

>> Read more trending news

According to Variety, PBS hired a firm to oversee Smiley’s behavior after reports of misconduct. As many as 10 witnesses, both men and women, spoke to investigators.  

A PBS spokesperson released a statement on the suspension:

"Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of Tavis Smiley, produced by TS Media, an independent production company. PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley. This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley. The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision."

Family of 6 loses everything in fire that leaves woman critically hurt

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 7:09 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 9:45 PM

RAW: Pearl Street fire consumes Miamisburg house

UPDATE @ 9:45 p.m.

A family of six lost who everything in a Wednesday morning fire feel fortunate they all made it out alive.

David Gilbert, and his fiancee, Becky McGeorge, three daughters, ages 13, 7 and 5, and son, 3, all lived in the house in the 1100 block of East Pearl Street that was destroyed.

Lena Gilbert, David’s sister, said there’s no clue how the fire started. The 13-year-old girl left for school at 6:20 a.m., and everything was fine then, she said.

>>RELATED: Victim of Kettering fire, explosion identified

“By 6:49 (a.m.) the house was fully engulfed,” Gilbert said.

McGeorge is improving, but is still in critical condition and using a ventilator at Miami Valley Hospital, Gilbert said.

“She is actually coming around. She is giving the doctors notes to call David,” she said. “Since we got good news on Becky, that’s all that matters.”

The Gilbert family lost two dogs in the fire and all the children’s Christmas presents. They had no renter’s insurance and their vehicles were only covered by liability insurance.

>>RELATED: One killed in Trotwood fire

“It’s devastating, Lena Gilbert said. “They just have nothing, really.”

Meanwhile, they are staying with her, she said.

“We are fortunate that they all made it out,” Gilbert said. “That’s all we can ask for. Everything else is replaceable. They are not.”

>>RELATED: GoFundMe account set up for Gilbert family

FIRST REPORT

A woman was seriously injured early today in a Miamisburg house fire from which three other family members escaped.

Miami Valley Fire District Chief Matthew Queen said the victim, whose age was not provided, was taken by relatives to a hospital after the fire broke out in the 1100 block of East Pearl Street.

>>RELATED: Cause of 2013 fire that killed four was an accident caused by cooking

Initial responders described it as a blaze with heat so intense it damaged neighboring property and prompted firefighters to take a defensive approach.

Queen characterized the victim’s unspecified injuries as “serious.” He declined to identify her or other family in the home at the time of the fire, but initial reports indicated it involved two adults and two children.

>>RELATED: Victim of Kettering fire, explosion identified

“The structure sustained heavy damage and will likely be considered a total loss,” he stated in an email. “We do not have an estimate at this time, but the investigation is ongoing.”

Queen said this morning it was unknown whether smoke detectors were in the home.

“It is too early in the investigation to know that,” Queen said.

>>RELATED: One killed in Trotwood fire

It’s also too early to determine a cause of the blaze, said MVFD Fire Marshal Bob Pugh.

Crews responded just before 7 a.m. and fire crews on the scene said the roof “had already opened up.” The intensity of the flames kept crews from entering the home for some time.

Local groups hold vigil for victims of gun violence

Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 5:54 PM

Local groups hold vigil for victims of gun violence

The Organizing for Action and Dayton Indivisible For All is hosting a candlelight vigil To End Gun Violence in remembrance of the those who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. 

The event is being held today at Christ Episcopal Church in Dayton. Thursday, Dec. 14 marks the five year anniversary of the Sandy Hook school massacre in which a gunman killed 26 students and adults in Newtown, Ct. 

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OFA and DIFA are partnering with the Newtown Foundation and other gun violence prevention organizations in a nationwide tribute to end gun violence. 

The vigil will also be a tribute to the more than 500,000 victims and survivors of gun violence since Dec. 2012, including the 58 Las Vegas concert-goers who were gunned down in October. More than 500 people were also injured during the Las Vegas shooting.