59 homes destroyed in Trotwood: ‘We live in a trauma now’

Nearly 500 homes were damaged and 59 were destroyed in Trotwood after Monday night’s EF-3 tornado tore through the city.

In Trotwood there were no fatalities and the fire department transported four people to hospitals, said Trotwood city manager Quincy Pope. Another 30 people have been transported after the tornado because of inability to breathe without air conditioning or inability to get to needed medications, said fire chief Richard Haacke.

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“It took a minute to process this, just like a death — the trauma,” said Norman Roland, a resident of the Salem Bend Condominiums off Nantucket Road. “We live in a trauma now.”

He, like others in Trotwood, took cover on the first-floor bathroom of his condo. Next door, his neighbor Jenny Alcala did the same.

“I’ve been out here 30 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” she said.

The building Alcala and Roland live in wasn’t hit as hard as others. They lost some shingles and had scratches on their vehicles. But down the street, bricks were stripped off homes and many had part or all of the roofs missing. Some homes were missing walls in the next block over, with full rooms inside the homes visible from the road.

Some people were roaming the street and assessing the damage, but many of the people living in the condominiums had to leave or were placed somewhere by the Red Cross, Roland said.

Across a creek in the Wolf Creek Run subdivision, houses also had roofs ripped away in the storm. Some homes were nearly collapsed and residents said they helped dig a woman and her family out of a basement after their home collapsed.

“We were already in the basement under our stairwell, and we just heard the house start rumbling and then we heard the windows break,” said Ryan Johnson, a resident of Wolf Creek Run who had the roof ripped off his home. He and his wife Danielle Johnson would have lived in their home for 3 years next week.

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The first instinct was to pack the car and get out of the neighborhood, but the Johnsons couldn’t find a way out around downed power lines and trees, they said. Around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, Johnson’s brother followed a police officer into the neighborhood to get the family out.

The city still had some neighborhoods that it was working to get into Wednesday morning, Pope said.

“The roadways being covered with power lines and very large trees being uprooted across the roadways, it can make it real hard for us,” Police Chief Erik Wilson said. “Those are the concerns we have, just being able to get to the people.”

Several large trees were uprooted at the Stillwater Meeting House of the Old German Baptist Brethren Conference, destroying some tomb stones in the neighboring cemetery. One of the churches trustees Curtis Flora said the building was mostly fine, but the church had just finished five years worth of removing 40 dead trees and have lost most of what was left following the storm. The group will have about 50 men from the church clearing the land Saturday.

The city was fortunate despite the damage, Wilson said. The path it followed only destroyed parts of the city and three-fourths of Trotwood are in good condition.

“One of the things that I found most impressive yesterday was the spirit — the human spirit that was displayed where I saw people who did not know each other driving into the community and driving around, and where they might have been affected, they thought to go get pizza,” Wilson said.

Many people have been displaced by the storms and others who haven’t still have no power and are under a boil advisory.

For those who can’t drive, Lyft is offering free rides to water distribution sites, said Lora Davenport, advocacy programs manager at the food bank at 56 Armor Place in Dayton.

The Trotwood fire department has also started delivering water in neighborhoods that have been impacted, Haacke said. The fire department has distributed 12 to 15 pallets of water and is still receiving more and will continue offering water and ice from the firehouse today.


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