‘You just want to break down’: Shelby residents pick up the pieces after EF-2 tornado

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SHARON TOWNSHIP, Ohio– Victims of the tornado that tore across Richland County scrambled to salvage belongings from destroyed homes on Monday.

The EF-2 tornado cut a 17-mile path, with wind speeds reaching 125 mph and the tornado spanning a half mile at its worst, according to the National Weather Service.

More than 30 buildings and homes were damaged or destroyed, and six people suffered minor injuries, according to authorities. Several homes on Route 61 near Route 314 were hit hard by the storm.

“This was once the living room. Everything’s completely destroyed in it,” said Kathleen Ramey, who was helping her in-laws sift through debris inside their home. Windows were shattered and the roof was blown off the house.

“It actually looks like a cannon ball came through it,” Ramey said of a hole in a bedroom wall. “It’s just surreal. I can’t believe it happened. It’s just so incredibly sad.”

Homeowner Ed Kaufman and his wife were at Ramey’s house at the time and returned to find their home in pieces.

“I was ready to just walk away. It hurt. It hurt bad. We work hard for what we got,” Kaufman said.

Next door, Elizabeth Stigall’s home was destroyed, too. She said she made it into the basement as the tornado hit.

“The wind hit me from the back, pushed me into the basement, slammed the door behind me shut,” she said. “I heard a boom!”

As utility crews repaired downed poles Monday, portions of several roads remained closed in the Shelby area.

The American Red Cross visited some of the homes affected to offer assistance.

Looting was a real concern and some people stayed guard at badly damaged homes overnight.

“Never been through this before, so I’m lost,” Kaufman said. “You just want to break down sometimes and just cry, but try hard not to.”

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