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Dawn shows devastation in OH

BY SUSAN KIM | Xenia, OH | September 21, 2000

One person was killed and more than 100 were injured by winds in excess of 100 mph. Gov. Bob Taft

declared a state of emergency at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night, according to Dennis Kimmins, public

information officer for Ohio emergency management. About 160 homes were damaged altogether, with

the majority in Greene County, said Kimmins.

Taft was viewing the damage on Thursday afternoon as state and local emergency management officials

continued search-and-rescue operations and damage assessments. About half the town could be out of

power for up to five days.

"Damage looks pretty extensive," said Barbara Davis of the Miami Valley emergency management. "We

are still searching for people in collapsed homes."

Residents spent a chaotic night checking on neighbors or getting to a safe shelter themselves. The

American Red Cross responded on Wednesday night.

Xenia resident Betty Daws and her husband went out Wednesday night before the tornado hit and were unable to return to their home until after midnight. "It was so dark that nobody could see the damages until this morning," she said.

Many residents spent the night checking on friends and loved ones. "I went out immediately after," said the Rev. Larry Cole, pastor at Grace Community Church in Xenia. "Everyone in the community was helping where they could. We have tried to start a volunteer list. But until there's some sort of organization, it's chaos."

Several churches in the town were damaged, including the Faith Community United Methodist Church.

Representatives from United Methodist disaster response are traveling to Xenia to assess damage.

The Greene County Fairgrounds were all but destroyed by the twister just as people were setting up for an exhibit.

Xenia was the sight of another deadly twister in 1974 that killed 33 people and injured 1,300. That storm caused more than $100 million in damage.

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