A tornado tore through Goshen causing widespread damage to buildings and trees as severe storms hit Greater Cincinnati Wednesday afternoon.
Much of the destruction is centered near the Goshen Township Fire Station at the intersection of Goshen Road and State Route 28.
The Goshen Fire Department took “a direct hit” from the tornado, Fire Chief Stephen Pegram said.
A portion of the fire station’s roof appears to have collapsed. Firefighters, police and EMS from several different agencies have responded to the area near the fire station.
Several houses have been destroyed or partially destroyed. Roads are blocked by debris and trees, as well as downed utility poles and power lines.
‘The kitchen ceiling collapsed over top of us’
KAB Insurance Services on Dick Flynn Boulevard in Goshen was left in ruins after it was hit by Wednesday’s tornado, according to Sales Manager Eric Beavers.
He and his coworkers were seated in the conference room when the storm rolled in, Beavers said, adding everyone in the office took shelter under a wooden table in the kitchen.
“The kitchen ceiling collapsed over the top of us,” he said. “We didn’t know if we were going to make it out.”
Beavers said everyone made it out of the collapsed office building though some of the staff might need to be treated for injuries.
Other Goshen businesses are also reeling from the tornado’s aftermath.
Skyline customers fled to the back of the store
Minutes before the tornado struck, Tyler King was working at the Skyline Chili near the highway. He said he received a notification of a tornado warning on the phone.
King immediately started moving staff and customers to the back of the store and the storm hit shortly after, he said.
He came back up to the front and the storm blew the back door open, King said, adding he saw the store’s sign unhinge and fly through the window.
King said no one who was at the store when the storm hit was injured.
Residents lost roofs, trees, buildings
Grover Clifton just bought a house down the street from the Skyline three months ago. He said nearly all of his roof was ripped off by the tornado.
When the storm hit, he was on his way home from work, he said, so by the time he arrived the storm had already passed.
Clifton was removing his valuables from his house. Power lines and trees completely blocked the road in front of his home
Clifton says he shares custody of his children. “They weren’t here, thank god,” Clifton said.
Phyllis Morgan said the building that her family built in the 1980s, which previously housed a real estate business, is almost completely leveled to the ground.
She said she was 10 minutes away at her house without electricity and wasn’t notified until she was called by friends. It was her father of her who built the building. She owns it now.
Morgan said the building was just rented out to another business.
“It’s just totaled,” Morgan said. Her reading glasses de ella shook in her hand as she looked over the wreckage.
“There’s not even anything I can pick up and take home with me,” she said. “My livelihood is in there.
“There’s absolutely nothing left,” she said. “I just can’t believe it. It’s hard to take.”
Fire chief: ‘Timing was a blessing’
Pegram said at a press conference Wednesday evening that so far his department is aware of two storm-related injuries: a person injured when the storms blew through the township and a firefighter injured using a chain saw after the storm.
Pegram said four schools were damaged, the township building and a fire station were all damaged as well as “several hundred houses.”
The fire chief said there are gas leaks and urged people to stay off the roads and avoid the area. He said officials are discussing a possible shelter for those displaced by the storm, but said the township has not received any requests at this time.
Pegram said the timing of the storm was a blessing, as Goshen Township is mostly a bedroom community and many people were at work when it hit.
“On my shirt is our town motto: Love Where You Live,” Pegram said, pausing to fight back tears. “That’s the coolest thing about where we live. We will work through the night.”
The Enquirer has reporters at the scene and will update this story as more information becomes available.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism