CELINA — The aftermath of Sunday’s tornado in Celina was still apparent Monday, with crews in bucket trucks repairing downed power lines and orange cones blocking streets still closed to traffic, all with the sound of chain saws cutting downed trees and hammers nailing tarps onto damaged rooftops.
With areas of the city still without power Monday, damage assessment was ongoing after the EF2 tornado whipped through Celina on Sunday. A second tornado, also an EF2, was confirmed in the vicinity of St. Anthony in western Mercer County. According to Midwest Electric, the storm caused just more than 1,000 of its customers to lose power Sunday, with almost all restored by midnight.
In the relative calm Monday, residents were left to take stock of the damage and begin cleanup efforts.
For Stephen Morgan, owner of Lakeshore Auto Sales on Market Street, the tornado sheared the metal roof off his dealership, ripping a hole in his ceiling and causing extensive water damage throughout the newly renovated building.
“It’s bad enough that the tornado came through, but really, the rain and water was the worst,” he said. “It’s amazing the damage that water can do.”
Morgan had just renovated the building two years ago after a fire caused severe damage to his dealership.
“We replaced a lot of sections of the roof and we gutted the whole inside and everything was brand new,” he said. “Now here we are again after the tornado came through.”
Another business that was hit hard by the tornado was Crown Corp., which was forced to shut down after the tornado directly impacted the southwest corner of the facility. While early reports stated that the facility was empty at the time of the tornado, Vice President of Human Resources Randy Niekamp confirmed that there were between 40 and 50 employees in the facility and that all were able to find shelter and avoid injury.
Cleanup and damage assessment has been a slow process, according to Niekamp.
“There’s no power in the building, so we’re limited to what we can do,” he said. “We are having an assessment done of the building, and that’s partially done. We’ll continue that tomorrow when it gets light out again.”
Cleanup crews began work Sunday night. Tom Sheppard of Holcomb Enterprises out of Port Clinton said that his crews arrived Sunday night to board up the Ruler Foods grocery store and the neighboring Dunham Sports store on Havermann Road. As his crew continued cleanup Monday, he said the damage to the building was considerable.
“There’s a hole in the store, and everything went through,” he said. “It was pretty much a mess.”
As cleanup continued, Morgan was confident that the city will come out better than before.
“We’re a small community, but we’re a strong community,” he said.