Shelby Residents Assess Damage And Begin Cleanup After Sunday Tornado
People in the town of Shelby, about 90 miles southwest of Cleveland in Richland County, are assessing the damage after a tornado tore through the community on Sunday.
The Shelby Police Department said that the damage and potential for injuries could have been much worse.
"If there is a silver lining to the cloud that passed us, was the time, day and location - just a half a mile to the north and our residential neighborhoods would have been devastated," Shelby Police Chief Lance Combs wrote on Facebook.
The Richland County Emergency Management Agency says local emergency departments report five storm-related injuries and no deaths.
Latest info on the Shelby #Tornado and across much of Richland County #Ohio. It was a strong tornado with a rating of EF-2. Estimated max wind speeds were 120-125 mph. The path was 17 miles long and up to 1/2 mile wide. There were at least 6 injuries. #OHwx #CLEwx #NWS #Weather pic.twitter.com/gjq4R81ESx
— NWS Cleveland (@NWSCLE) April 15, 2019
The tornado also caused serious damage to a few houses in the area, according to ideastream's Matt Richmond.
In Shelby, OH for @WCPN where a tornado struck Sunday. Rocket Chevrolet on Rt. 39 and a few houses took serious damage. Crews out repairing power lines, starting work to fix houses, there's an insurance agent waiting at the next table for the road to open. pic.twitter.com/82eHYmwaz7
— Matt Richmond (@themattrichmond) April 15, 2019
The tornado touched down just west of a commercial area along Ohio Highway 39, and several businesses were heavily damaged including Chevrolet and Ford car dealerships and a service station. Downed trees and utility poles caused Ohio Highway 39, or Mansfield Avenue as it is known in town, to be closed. At mid-afternoon on Monday, the Shelby police department said part of the road would soon be open.
First Presbyterian Church in Shelby served some 300 meals Monday to those affected by the tornado. James Robinson who volunteered at the church said the worst damage that people according to people who came in was along Plymouth Springmill Road on the edge of town.
"There's one lady who was here with three of her children, they're staying in a hotel right now," said Robinson. "Their house didn't get a lot of damage but what happened, they had a tree in their yard uproot and the way that it uprooted it just destroyed the foundation of the house."
In his comments on Facebook, Police Chief Combs said some had questioned whether the tornado warning sirens were activated in a timely manner.
"If there are problems, they fall on my shoulders. The police department activates those sirens for the city of Shelby," he said. "If the sirens were not activated soon enough, I take the blame."
Utility crews from as far away as Michigan have been helping to restore power and repair damage from the tornado and storm.
A previous version of this story said there were at least six injuries according to the National Weather Service. The Richland County EMA reports five storm-related injuries.