Richland County Emergency Management: ‘We Dodged a Bullet’

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RICHLAND COUNTY, Ohio - Surveying the damage left behind by a storm that blew through Ohio late Tuesday, Richland County Emergency Management Director Mike Bailey found it difficult to believe someone was not seriously hurt.

"I'd say we dodged a bullet last night," said Bailey.

Damage was reported in three different locations of Richland County.

Perhaps the most dramatic was on Mock Road where a 76-year-old woman was inside her mobile home when it was toppled by the powerful storm.

Keith Layfield was watching television at his home next door when he says the television went out.

Layfield says the storm was over in a minute and then he heard someone crying for help.

He went outside and found his neighbor looking through the side windows of her overturned home.

"That's the only place that she could see out and she could get her head and shoulders but she couldn't get through that window," said Layfield.

The woman's son came to the scene and called for help.

Bailey says the woman was transported to a local hospital where she was being treated for minor injuries on Wednesday.

On State Road 97 near Interstate-71, a Days Inn was damaged. It was surrounded by massive trees that were snapped in half. A light pole was bent.

Anthony Cushard works at the hotel and was on his way there when he was caught in a hail storm.

"It's the worst I've seen in ten years since I have been down here," said Cushard of the damage after getting a good look at it on Wednesday.

At a nearby BP gas station a gas pump was ripped from the ground.

The National Weather Service on Wednesday reported the damage was most likely the result of straight line winds as high as 80 miles-per-hour.

Similar damage was reported in Morrow County.

"You had a fire hazard that was present if the safety valve hadn't engaged on the gas pump. You could have had another additional crisis. I understand there was a propane leak when the fire department arrived at the trailer.

That's another thing you've got to take into consideration so, with all that in mind I'd say the man up above was watching over us last night," said Bailey.

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