SHELBY, Ohio — The tornado that tore through Shelby Sunday night caused extensive damage and left six people in Richland County with storm-related injuries.
But the Shelby police chief knows it could have been much worse.
In a post on Facebook late Sunday night, Chief Lance Combs wrote, “If there is a silver lining to the cloud that passed us, was the time, day and location – just a half a mile to the north and our residential neighborhoods would have been devastated.”
Combs also thanks the emergency personnel and first responders for their efforts during and after the storm.
“I am truly grateful and humbled to work among such consummate, caring professionals. Not the least of which our own officers who were calling and texting and volunteering to come in or stay over after a 12 hour shift. Thanks to all”
Combs also took the blame for any issues that may have happened activating the tornado sirens.
“If there are problems,” he wrote, “they fall on my shoulders. The police department activates those sirens for the city of Shelby.”
“We normally receive specific alerts and warnings for northern Richland County and that is when we typically activate the sirens. The alert we received today was general to Richland County and not specific to the Shelby area,” he explained.
“Within a very short time, the department received a report of an active tornado near or on SR39 and the working supervisor activated the alert sirens. That did occur before the tornado caused the damage across 39. If the sirens were not activated soon enough, I take the blame,” Combs wrote.
He said they have been performing monthly testing of the sirens.
“We will be reviewing that procedure and examining whether we need to make additional adjustments,” he wrote.
The chief ended the post by urging people to avoid the area of Mansfield Avenue. He said they hoped to have it reopened by 9 a.m. Monday.
He thanked everyone for their “patience, support, understanding and offers of help.”