XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) — 23 years after an F4 tornado struck Xenia, one man is sharing his story of what it was like to be trapped under debris as a child.
James Edwards, only four years old at the time, will never forget what he went through on the evening of September 20, 2000. A normal Wednesday, going to church with some family members. James said he was out in a barn with his sister, when he needed to use the restroom.
He headed back to the church but had no idea that an F4 tornado was bearing down on the city. That is when the twister struck.
Edwards said, “I had to run from the barn over to the church itself. And then after that, I just remember waking up in the hospital.”
The tornado tore through the town, carving an 8 to 9 mile path in its wake. Throwing cars, semis, and destroying houses. For James he would find himself unconscious under a brick wall. His pastor was the first person there to get him out, but not without heavy lifting.
Edwards said, “He had told everybody as he got the strength from God to lift up that wall and get me out from underneath that brick wall itself. And, you know, to this day, I still think that man for, you know, coming to find me and lifting that wall up and getting me out from underneath there.”
He was seriously injured, ending up with a broken arm, bumps, bruises and cuts. His mother was running errands when the tornado struck and had no idea a tornado struck until she got home. That is when she found out her son was being transported by helicopter to the hospital.
Tammy Talbott, James’ mother said, “His sisters stood there and watched a nurse at the church work on him for over an hour before CareFlight had got there. It took me probably 5 hours to get to my son, and that was not the same boy.”
She is thankful her son is still here to this day but does not want to go back to that time again.
Talbott said, “I never want to do another one. I did the 74’. I did the 2000. But that 2000 about killed me inside, you know, the devastation, the worrying.
The tornado ended up killing one person and mirrored the track of the infamous 1974 F5 tornado.