CEDARVILLE, Ohio — A southwest Ohio community is putting the pieces back together Thursday, a day after a damaging tornado swept through the area and destroyed at least two homes and several other buildings.
The National Weather Service is in Cedarville Thursday to survey the damage caused by the storm and determine what category to rank the tornado, which was first spotted at about 6:12 p.m. Wednesday.
One of the houses destroyed belonged to Roger Dobbins, 71. The other was his daughter's. They all were trapped inside for nearly 30 minutes after the tornado.
Dobbins told news partner WHIO-TV he was watching coverage of the storm on TV until his satellite went out at his home in the 4200 block of Barber Road.
"I saw it coming directly toward us," he said. "I could hear a lot of racket -- my ears popped."
Dobbins said he and six other people were in the basement: his wife, daughter, a friend of his daughter's, and her three children. All seven people had to be helped out of the house but are expected to be OK.
More than a dozen fire trucks and emergency vehicles were sent to the Dobbins farm.
Corey Atley told WHIO he observed damage near his home outside Cedarville, including a nearby silo and a hog barn that was flattened. He said, in all, the storm left behind a swath of debris four miles long and 200 to 300 yards wide.
Cedarville police Chief Chris Gillaugh called the weather incident "unbelievable."
"You watch it on television and you see them on television all the time. But to see it and actually know that it's destroying places and things, you have a whole other respect for it," he said.
In Xenia, the storm and possible straight line winds are being blamed for uprooting trees and ripping the roof off a barn.
Dennis Mick, who experienced the 1974 Xenia tornado, told WHIO he took cover as soon as he heard the storm blowing in.
"I saw branches swirling through the air and we ran to the basement. There was a roaring sound," he said.
After the storm, he observed pieces of his aluminum and timber barn were scattered hundreds of yards across his property. Wooden beams had been driven straight into the ground by the force of the winds.
Across the street, high winds rolled a trailer at least 50 feet, ripping off the back of the vehicle and scattering its contents across the front lawn, Mick said.
Mick said he's thankful his family wasn't harmed and his home is largely in tact.
"We send prayers out to the families and the people who are affected by the storm in Cedarville and wish them the best. If there's anything we can do to lend assistance, we're ready to go," said Chief Chris Clark of nearb Madison Twp. Fire and EMS.
MORE COVERAGE: Read the full WHIO report