Severe Weather Damages Buildings in Ohio, Indiana

June 25, 2010

High winds and heavy rain cut power to thousands in Ohio, destroyed a historic, vacant town hall, damaged other buildings and injured a firefighter in the state’s far northwest corner.

“The town hall is gone,” Edgerton Mayor Lance Bowsher said. “I mean, you can see clear through it.”

The building dated to the 1880s and once housed the village offices.

A firefighter standing outside the town hall was hurt by falling debris, Bowsher said, and part of the building fell onto the nearby fire department headquarters, forcing officials to close it pending a further assessment of the damage.

The firefighter suffered a broken collar bone, leg and arm, said Teresa Kurtz, the town’s clerk-treasurer.

The storm also tore the roof off a machine shop in an industrial park, the mayor said. Winds also damaged the roof at Sauder Woodworking Co. in Archbold, where hundreds of workers were moved to tornado shelters for more than an hour, said Frank Chapa, a security worker.

The area is 70 miles west of where a tornado hit on June 5, killing six people, ripping apart a high school and destroying or severely damaging about 100 homes.

Severe weather across northern Ohio on Wednesday caused outages that affected up to 20,000 customers, said Mark Durbin, a First Energy Corp. spokesman. Most service was restored by Thursday morning.

Based on reports of widespread and significant damage to buildings and trees in and around Edgerton, the National Weather Service planned to send a team to the area to investigate whether a tornado touched down, agency meteorologist Patrick Murphy said.

The weather service also was checking out reports of possible tornadoes in neighboring parts of Indiana, where a barn and grain silo were damaged.

Officials reported buildings damaged by wind and falling trees from Hammond to Fort Wayne, Ind. Utilities said Thursday morning that some 40,000 homes and businesses were without power, with large outages in the South Bend, Goshen and LaPorte areas.

No serious injuries were immediately reported.

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