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TOLEDO, OHIO — At least seven people have been confirmed dead after two bands of strong thunderstorms and tornadoes ripped through the area late Saturday into early Sunday morning.
Areas from Fulton County to eastern Wood County were hit hardest in the severe weather which is being blamed for widespread damage to homes, vehicles and even a high school.
Lake Township Fire Chief Todd Walters says several people have been treated at area hospitals after a tornado tore through his area of Wood County in the early morning hours of Sunday. Authorities have been searching damaged homes for any injured residents, but have yet to say if anyone is considered missing. The storm is estimated to have left a seven-mile path of destruction across the township, including destroying parts of Lake High School.
Lake Schools Superintendent Jim Witt says the high school has suffered severe damage to the field house, which was to hold graduation ceremonies Sunday. Those ceremonies have been rescheduled for Tuesday at a location in Toledo. The school’s cafeteria has also been destroyed. District school busses were heavily damaged and tossed across the school’s property, one coming to rest next to the school’s football field.
One person was confirmed dead in Wood County after her car was swept off the roadway on SR 795 near Lemoyne Rd. late Saturday night. The victim’s car was said to have been struck by tornado debris. A second fatality came at the Lake Township Police Station where a person who was seeking shelter from the storm was killed by high winds in the parking lot. Two other deaths include 36-year old Mary Walters from Millbury and her 5-year old son, Hayden. The remaining deaths reportedly include 46-year old Ted Kranz, the father of this year’s Lake High School valedictorian, Kathleen Hammitt, 56, from Wauseon and 20-year-old Bailey Bowman from Walbridge.
The Lake Township Police Department sustained heavy damage in the storm. Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer was talking to a police dispatcher on the phone when the storm hit.“She started saying, ‘The building is shaking,’ and then another dispatcher came on and said, ’The roof just blew off,” he said.
“It’s a war zone, " Hummer said of the destruction seen in his community. “It’s pretty disheartening.” He estimates nearly 50 homes were destroyed in the overnight storm, and at least another 50 damaged.
The heaviest damage in Fulton County, after a funnel touchdown in Delta, was reported on County Road 3 between County roads D and E. There have been no reports of fatalities in Delta.
American Red Cross volunteers have been on the scene in Lake Township since 3:00 a.m. Sunday, helping residents and those families affected by the severe weather. Those affected are being given food, shelter or damage assistance.
Damage has been reported in Monroe County where a state of emergency has been declared. Authorities say the roof of Splash Universe, just off US 23 in Dundee, has been damaged. Approximately 500 guests at the hotel and water park have been evacuated to Dundee Middle School. Minor injuries have been reported and all patients have been transported to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.
Authorities say the Fermi 2 power plant in Monroe County has also sustained damage due to the severe storms. No injuries have been reported. The reactor was automatically shut down after strong winds ripped the siding off of a building.