Recovery underway in Celina after storms injure 8

Josh Agler-Celina, Ohio

CELINA, OHIO (WANE) – The Mercer County, Ohio Emergency Management Director confirmed to the National Weather Service eight people were injured after a possible tornado in Celina Sunday afternoon.

Strong and severe storms struck the area around 2:30 p.m.

Celina Police officers posted at the edge of town said they saw a funnel cloud headed toward the city. The storm hit the city soon after. The National Weather Service confirmed an E-F-2 tornado touched down in Blackford and Jay counties before ending in Mercer County, Ohio. Winds were  reportedly up to 134 miles an hour.

EMA Director Mike Robbins said six people were hurt at a restaurant and one person was hurt at a business. One other person was injured in a car crash after a power pole fell to the ground. Robbins said the injuries are not considered life-threatening.

An arial view of the aftermath of that E-F2 tornado shows just how devastating it was.

“It’s like total devastation,” said Dan Daily, General Manager of Aaron’s. “It’s almost like a bomb went off.My box truck was just flipped over on it’s side. It was just total devastation everywhere, insulation, metal just everywhere.”

Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel declared a state of emergency to free up resources from the State of Ohio.

“We’ve got restaurants down, commercial and retail down,” said Mayor Hazel. “We are being told that it should be within a few weeks for some of these places with less damage to get up and running.”

Classes were cancelled at Celina City Schools. Many of those students and teachers spent the day cleaning up debris.

“I just kind of showed up,” said Kyle Bruce, a senior at Celina High School. “I know a lot of the teachers were out here and students kind of showed up one by one and just kind of everyone came out together to help.”

“It’s great the way this community jumps together to help everybody,” said Daily.

Mayor Hazel said it shows just how tight-knit the community is.

“We’ve got an awesome community and I’m not just saying that because I’m mayor,” he said. “I know these people. They come together as a community. The outpouring of people wanting to help and give assistance to other people, the people who are going o help their neighbors, that’s what makes us a strong community and I think we’ll be stronger for it.”

As of Monday afternoon, Mayor Hazel said power had been restored in 90 percent of the city. Hazel expects power will be fully restored later Monday evening.

Damage reports are extensive in some parts of Celina, including a Dollar General, Dunham’s Sporting Goods, C-Town Wings, Ruler Foods and several other businesses along Havemann Road and State Road 29. Several businesses on E. Market Street were also damaged.

Officials said several homes sustained damage of various degrees throughout the area as well.

Numerous power lines are down. Robbins said much of the town is without power and crews are assessing the damage. A time for power restoration is not currently available.

Celina City Schools were also closed Monday.