WAPAKONETA, Ohio (WDTN) — People are continuing to pick up the pieces after an EF1 tornado ripped through parts of Auglaize County early Saturday morning.
Mark Hart was sleeping in his truck across from the TA truck stop in Wapakoneta when severe storms rolled through the area.
“I heard the rain and I thought I’d be able to get a good night of sleep. But next thing I know, I heard a loud boom. I didn’t know what it was,” Hart said.
Next thing he knew, his truck was moving.
“I heard a loud crash. It was my windshield. And I saw another truck rolling down the street that was turned over. I looked and I saw another truck that had turned over. And then I felt my truck being picked up and moved over into the next truck,” Hart explained.
Hart was caught in the tornado. He said he was scared for his life.
“At that time, I was really praying, it was very frightening. I just thank God that I’m here,” Hart said.
Hart is doing ok now. He was able to get his windshield fixed before heading back to Indiana. He is one of many people in Auglaize County cleaning up the mess left behind by the storm.
Troy Anderson is the EMA Director for Auglaize County. He has not stopped working for the last 50 hours. He said the damage extends across the county.
“I know a lot of the wooded areas out in the county actually have, we’ve located roofing from houses six or seven miles away that was in those wooded areas. So we’re going to be picking debris up for quite a while,” Anderson said.
Roads are still closed, and power is still out in some places. Venture Out Resort was hit hard. Seven people staying at the camp were treated for minor injuries. They are doing ok now. A spokesperson for the resort told 2 News the entire metal roof was ripped off the clubhouse.
“There were only a few minutes between when the tornado alarms sounded and when the tornado hit the resort, so some people were still in their campers or our cabins when the tornado came through. A few of our campers were able to get to our 16,000-square-foot clubhouse for shelter. However, the tornado took its toll on that building as well and ripped off the entire metal roof. Our thoughts and condolences go out to all who were at the resort and experienced this natural disaster,” Alex Webber, Chief Experience Officer, Venture Out Resorts, said.
The Ohio Greenhouse Company also took a hit. The entire greenhouse was destroyed.
Anderson said he is now working with the National Weather Service to determine if there was a second tornado that night.
“We can actually see tracks, what appears to be tracks on the ground from another one that might have, the way it looks, went across and maybe merged with the front and then turned and came back down this way,” Anderson said.
The clean-up process will take a while; line crews from surrounding towns are coming in to help restore power and fix power lines. Wapakoneta Mayor Steve Henderson said it is amazing to see the entire community pull together to help those in need. He said community members are securing meals for the linemen fixing the power lines. People also helped the displaced campers at Venture Out Resort find places to stay.
“They’ve all reached out. Pratt Industries wants to donate boxes, anything, we don’t even have to ask, they’re calling me. So that’s, I think, that’s a testament to the citizens and businesses here in Wapakoneta,” Henderson said.
Anderson said he is working with state and federal officials to determine what kind of assistance people can get, if any, to help repair homes and businesses.
Once the property is secure and safe, Venture Out Resort will be posting volunteer opportunities for people to help remove debris from the site.