BROOKVILLE, Ohio – Michael Sussman thought last night would be his last.
“I thought, ‘I’m 59 and I went through a few things, this is it,'” he told CNN Tuesday morning after a suspected tornado had ripped his home to shreds.
Sussman lives in Brookville, Ohio a rural suburb northwest of Dayton.
Two suspected tornadoes slammed the metro Dayton area Monday night, coming just 30 minutes apart, according to the National Weather Service.
The first suspected tornado crossed I-75 north of the city around 11:07 p.m. and carried a “tornado emergency warning,” the highest the weather service gives. The second crossed the highway about three miles away.
The weather service said it will be conducting damage surveys over the next few days in multiple areas throughout the state, including Dayton.
As Sussman heard the tornado warnings Monday night, he said he wasn’t paying much attention because “we get tornado warnings regularly.”
“I went to the kitchen with my laptop to look at the radar news,” he said, “As I look at it, I’m seeing that I’m in the direct path, so I’m getting concerned.”
He got up, went to the back of his house and shut the window.
“So enormous was the magnitude, the presence of what was about to happen that it took over my body,” he told CNN. “Something told me to not continue to be in the room so I went to the hallway.
Seconds later, the front room of his house was blown apart.
“I was hit by debris in my head,” Sussman said. “I looked up and I no longer had a roof.”
“I stood in the middle of the hallway and didn’t know if I was going to survive.”
Everything lasted for about 20 seconds, said Sussman’s ex-wife, Caron Cantrell, who lives in a town nearby.
“The house is destroyed,” she said. “Will have to be torn down. Many houses around the neighborhood are destroyed too.”
Sussman’s daughter and her boyfriend were in the house as well. They hid in a bathtub and were not injured.
“We tried to get away from the debris, among water patches and electrical wires swinging,” Sussman said. “We went out in the streets and children were screaming and crying. Devastation everywhere.”
It took emergency vehicles 20 minutes to arrive, he said, during which time he was “drifting, covered in blood.” There was only one ambulance going in and out as the neighborhood was being evacuated, he said.
Sussman suffered a concussion and had to get six stitches, but “he’s going to be OK,” Cantrell said.