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Three tornadoes, zero injuries: ‘It’s a miracle,’ fire chief says

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 5:46 PM


            A tornado damaged businesses in Park Layne in Clark County on Wednesday night. MARSHALL GORBY / STAFF
A tornado damaged businesses in Park Layne in Clark County on Wednesday night. MARSHALL GORBY / STAFF

Clean-up efforts began Thursday after severe weather ripped through the Miami Valley overnight, bringing an outbreak of tornadoes in the north and severe flooding in the south.

Three tornadoes struck Wednesday night — two in Clark County and one in Miami County — the National Weather Service confirmed Thursday, but warnings were issued in Greene, Warren and Preble counties too.

WATCH: 6 videos that show the intense Wednesday storms

No injuries were reported.

“I was extremely surprised,” Bethel Twp. Fire Chief Jacob King said. “It’s a miracle.”

His township included the hardest-hit area, Park Layne, where a confirmed EF1 tornado (with maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour) ripped through a Sunoco Gas Station and damaged the Mel-o-Dee Restaurant, Family Dollar and Motor Sports of Dayton.

FORECAST: More severe weather could come this weekend

King said rescue crews had to free a woman from the Family Dollar on South Dayton-Lakeview Road.

“We received a call of a person trapped inside the Family Dollar who said they couldn’t get out of the bathroom of the storage area because the doors were jammed shut,” King said. “Our crews arrived on the scene, did a rampant assessment of the facility, forced entry and was able to rescue that one occupant from the building.”

The person was unharmed, King said, and he was happy to find out no one was hurt during the storm.

RELATED: Beloved restaurant forced to close after damage from tornado

The Mel-O-Dee restaurant could be closed for up to three weeks because of broken air conditioning units and a structural truss damaged. The beloved Clark County restaurant has been open since 1965 and is known for its broaster chicken and other dishes made from scratch.

Larry Shaffer, Clark County Combined Health District, said eight of 10 restaurants were back in business after the storms caused closures.

Another EF1 tornado (about 90 miles per hour) was confirmed about five miles southeast of Piqua.

An EF0 tornado (with maximum winds of 75 miles per hour) tore branches off trees and threw them onto and through mobile homes at McMahan’s Mobile Home. Residents reported extensive damage, including holes in roofs that allowed water to pour right in.

PHOTOS: Aftermath of destructive storms, tornadoes

Residents said they were alerted to the danger by watching Storm Center 7 coverage on WHIO-TV.

“I was watching the news, watching Channel 7 news, and it showed it coming this way and I was looking and said, ‘it’s coming right for this mobile home park,’” said one resident. “That’s when I went outside, the rain stopped and got real calm, and that’s when it hit.”

In Butler County, storm damage included thousands of gallons of water in flooded basements.

Firefighters rescued 15 people, eight adults and seven children, after high water trapped them at Sebald Park in Madison Twp., Butler County Wednesday. Crews said high water cut off access to a bridge in the park, trapping multiple people in the high water.

Those trapped in the park included a pregnant woman and people with medical issues, according to Madison Twp. Fire Department Chief Kent Hall.

Hamilton resident Rebecca Lee called 911 when heavy rains swept up her green Honda Odyssey on Wednesday night between Tabor and Cleveland avenues.

“I got to get out of my car or I am going to drown soon,” Lee said to dispatchers. “I am going to have to get out or die. There is water up to my waist, and it is getting worse and worse.”

Ben Johnson, who lives on Taylor School Road, said he felt “shear panic” as the storms blew through, flooding his basement, destroying appliances and knocking out a door in the basement. He lost a washer, dryer, refrigerator, video games and couch.

“Everything in the basement is gone,” he said after putting on waders.

Staff Writers Parker Perry, Allyson Brown, Jim Ingram, Wayne Baker, Rick McCrabb and the Breaking News Team contributed reporting.

STORM CENTER 7 WEEKEND FORECAST

Friday: The day will begin dry with pleasant conditions. Highs will reach the middle 70s with some sunshine early. Scattered storms will develop toward late evening and continue into Friday night. A few storms could be strong as they arrive before weakening late Friday night.

Saturday: Most areas should be dry in the morning, but isolated storms could be triggered in the afternoon. Scattered showers and storms could develop into the evening. Some storms could be strong or severe. Highs will be in the 80s with muggy conditions.

Sunday: Scattered showers and storms move through the first half of the day. A few storms could be strong, possibly severe. The eastern Miami Valley may still have a few storms around late afternoon. The area dries out into the night. Daytime highs will be around 80 with still-muggy conditions.

Monday: At least some portion of Memorial Day should be dry, though another front will approach that could trigger a few showers or storms in the evening and into the night. Highs will reach the middle 70s with sunshine and scattered clouds.

Tuesday: Expect a mix of sun and clouds with a passing shower possible. Highs in the middle 70s.

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Rainfall wreaks havoc: ‘Small portion of the road is gone’

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 2:51 PM

Landslide closes road

Heavy rains have washed away sections of some local roadways, prompting emergency closures and repairs by Montgomery County and Miamisburg officials to keep drivers safe.

Rainfall ate away a stretch of Upper River Road near Miamisburg, leaving a guardrail dangling above the Great Miami River and forcing the county to close a stretch of Upper River, according to Gary Shoup, Montgomery County chief deputy engineer.

“With all the rain we’ve been having – not just at this location but at other locations in the county – there have been some landslides,” Shoup said Monday. “A small portion of the road is gone. The posts of the guardrail are no longer embedded into the earth. They are just hanging there.”

RECORD RAINFALL: New record set in Dayton

The damage prompted at least the third recent road closure and fourth emergency action to keep drivers safe in and around Miamisburg due to roadways threatened by erosion, according to officials.

Last week, Miamisburg officials ordered emergency repairs on a portion of Ohio 725. The state route was closed in both directions at times between Riverview and Linden avenues for repairs to an eroded embankment and ditch, according to the city.

“We caught it early and got out there ahead of it,” said Miamisburg city engineer Bob Stanley.

He said the Ohio 725 issue was directly related to the amount of rain pounding Miamisburg’s most heavily traveled route that carries more than 20,000 vehicles a day.

“What we were seeing was significant erosion from runoff from the roadway,” Stanley said.

TRENDING: With Elder-Beerman closings, can local malls survive?

On Upper River Road, a landslide from the riverbank along the road took about two feet off a lane along a 50- to 100-foot section between Farmersville-West Carrollton Road and Soldiers Home Miamisburg Road. About 150 vehicles used the road daily during a 2016 traffic count, Shoup said.

Along Ohio 725, large rocks have been fixed in place with concrete to help stabilize the area, Stanley said. The initial work is running the city about $80,000 to be addressed by an emergency ordinance next week, he said.

A section of Lower Miamisburg Road shared by Miamisburg and Montgomery County is also closed due to “slippage,” he said.

“It’s a hillside issue, not a river issue,” Stanley said.

Shoup said near-historic rainfall levels in February — normally when precipitation would come as slow-melting snow — as well as more record-setting rainy days since, laid the groundwork for the problems.

RELATED: Dayton February rain: How 2018 compares to record-shattering years

“It’s not unique to us, it’s throughout all of southern Ohio — the heavy rains and similar situations we’re encountering,” Shoup said.

The proximity of a swollen Little Twin Creek and Manning Road became a concern a couple months ago, prompting Montgomery County crews to place a concrete barrier between the roadway and creek west of Venus Road as a safety precaution, Shoup said.

This February was the fourth rainiest on record, with 5.62 inches at Dayton International Airport, the most since 1990, according to National Weather Service records. Precipitation in March was about a quarter inch more than average, while so far in April is running about one and half inches above normal, even before counting any rainfall Monday or Tuesday.

Montgomery County commissioners are expected to vote Tuesday to keep Upper River Road closed until the engineer’s office can assess the feasibility of a permanent fix. Detours are currently place.

“There’s no decision that the road is going to be closed permanently or not,” Shoup said. “That is something we will have to look at.”

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Computer virus cripples Riverside police, fire server

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 3:06 PM

The City of Riverside said it is the victim of a computer virus that currently has certain police staff unable to access about a year's worth of files.

In a phone conversation Monday afternoon, City Manager Mark Carpenter confirmed the malware infection came in early last week, and initially appeared to be an "email fax." 

The virus is still under investigation, but Carpenter said a Riverside police and fire server has, at present, lost about a year's worth of files. 

Carpenter says the city is currently working with two outside companies to recover the data, some of which is backed up by hard copies. 

No citizen personal information is at risk as a result of the virus, Carpenter said.

He added that the city did not pay money as is often the case in ransomware attacks. 

Carpenter said the city should know within a few days how likely it is that the city will able to recover the missing files.

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Sheriff’s office cruiser rammed in gas station parking lot, 2 detained

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 12:04 PM
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 3:03 PM

Police activity Philadelphia

UPDATE @ 3 p.m.: 

A Montgomery County Sheriff’s Cruiser was rammed by a stolen car in the parking lot of a Valero gas station in Harrison Twp. Monday, according to deputies. 

Deputies approached the stolen vehicle that was parked in the lot of the Valero gas station at 2800 Philadelphia Drive, according to a media release from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. 

“As deputies approached the vehicle, the driver of the vehicle noticed the deputies, re-entered (the) vehicle and fled the area. In fleeing the area, the driver of the vehicle struck a Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle,” deputies said the in the release. 

There were no injuries initially reported, according to emergency scanner traffic. 

Our crew on the scene observed two people detained at the scene and placed in the back of cruisers. 

No other details were provided by investigators. 

FIRST REPORT

An officer’s cruiser was reportedly struck by a vehicle on Philadelphia Drive this afternoon, according to initial reports.

The incident was reported around noon.

We’re working to learn more.

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Shelby County fatal buggy crash: Victims ID’d, suspect makes court appearance

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 10:24 AM
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 2:37 PM

Steve Baker talks to Larry Hansgen about the fatal buggy crash in Shelby County.

UPDATE @ 2:35 p.m.: 

Deputies have identified the victims of a fatal crash involving a horse-drawn buggy in Shelby County Friday night. 

Sarah Schwartz, 23, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on Ohio 47 near the Logan, Shelby county line around 9:10 p.m. Friday, according to a media release from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. 

Sarah’s husband, Henry Schwartz, 26, and their two children, Elmer, 18-months, and Ester, 4-months, were all ejected in the crash, deputies said. 

Elmer and Ester were transported by a CareFlight medical helicopter to Dayton Children’s Hospital and remain in critical condition. 

Henry was transported to Miami Valley Hospital where he is also listed in critical condition, deputies said. 

Earlier, the Steven Eugene Hunter, who deputies have accused of fleeing the scene of the crash, made an initial court appearance in a Shelby County court. Hunter’s bond was set at $150,000. 

FIRST REPORT: 

A man accused of leaving the scene of a fatal crash involving a horse-drawn buggy in Shelby County made an initial court appearance Monday morning. 

FIRST REPORT: SUV hits buggy: Woman killed, husband, 2 infants critical

Steven Eugene Hunter, 42, has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident in connection to the crash that killed a 23-year-old woman Friday night. 

Steven Hunter

Hunter’s bond was set at $150,000, per the request of the county prosecutor, during the arraignment in Sidney Municipal Court. 

Additional details about the crash have not been released by investigators. At last check, three people, including two children and a man, were all in critical condition at Dayton hospitals. 

We’ll update this page as new details become available. 

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