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PATH OF DESTRUCTION

PROCTORVILLE — The Village of Proctorville was hit hard by Tuesday’s storm that left many without power and many people were assessing damages on Wednesday.

The storm followed a pattern in the region that started Sunday in Cincinnati when 20,000 customers were without power after thunderstorms, high winds and hail battered the area.

In Proctorville, large trees were knocked onto power lines, roofs were blown off, but the hardest hit were the Lawrence County Fairgrounds, the Fairland Middle School building and a private home that had one second-floor room completely destroyed.

“We had three or four trees down on village property, 15 trees on private property and two or three roofs blown off,” said Mayor Jimmy Buchanan. “We didn’t have any injuries but we had three power lines down.”

The most devastating damage to a private home was on Private Drive, across the street from the middle school.

Tall old oak trees surround the two-story home, owned by Tim and Dee Rucker. One of the trees split and the largest portion landed on top of the house totally destroying one bedroom in the home.

When it hit, 15-year-old Cassie Rucker was sitting at her computer behind the only wall not taken down by the tree.

“I saw it coming and I didn’t know what it was,” said Tim Rucker, Cassie’s father. “I just got back from work. When I turned off Route 7, I looked down that way and I could not see the fairground. It was black on the ground.”

When he got out of his truck, the rain was blowing sideways into his face, he said. He knew Cassie was in the house somewhere and his wife and other daughter, Sarah, 18, were gone.

“I was at the mall and my daughter called hysterical and said a tree fell on the house,” Dee Rucker said.

She was getting last minute things ready for a trip to the beach with her daughters. They were supposed to leave Wednesday morning, but cancelled the trip.

“I ran in and was hollering for her to try to get her in the basement,” Rucker said. “She was upstairs within four feet of where the tree came through.”

He grabbed his daughter and they went into the basement until the storm blew over. He had no idea of what the damage was until he opened the bedroom door.

“The whole bedroom was gone,” he said. “My kitchen’s ready to collapse if we don’t get some of this stuff cut out of the way.”

A live electric line and power pole lay in the back yard of his home. Trees on both sides of the house were down. The walls inside the house were cracking from the weight of the huge tree.

“I’m just glad that my oldest daughter wasn’t here,” Rucker said. “She made a commitment to go to the movies and did not want to go. My wife kind of shamed her into going because she’d already made a promise. But, if she hadn’t (gone), she would have been sitting there with her laptop computer where the tree hit. Thank goodness for small miracles.”

The village bell tower was also hit. At the corner of Front and Ferry streets, several large trees were down with one hitting the power lines.

“A tree came down just above here and hit a power pole and being connected pulled a couple of the others down in the back,” said Ron Starcher whose house had been without service from about 6 p.m. Tuesday night. “They hope to have it restored this afternoon, but who can tell? They’ve got a lot of problems in the area. I’m 61 years old and in all my life I’ve never seen winds as strong as they were (Tuesday). It didn’t last too long, but it was certainly devastating in the amount of time it was here.”

Leola Boston lives in the neighborhood and the storm knocked down several trees on her property.

“It’s been a mess,” she said.

Diane Mannon was at Foodfair at the time. She had a fifth wheel camper parked at the fairgrounds. Although unconfirmed by the National Weather Service in Wilmington, she said it was a tornado.

“We were watching out the window and you could see the tornado,” Mannon said. “I saw the funnel. You could see it out of the glass windows. If that wasn’t a funnel, then I don’t know what it was.”

As soon as she could, she ran over to the fairgrounds to check on her camper.

“My husband was in it,” Mannon said. “It was not just high winds, I’m telling you.”

Another camper parked next to Mannon’s camper, owned by Benny Call, was moved several feet off its blocks.

Call was in Wellston at the time. He also had a tent nearby.

“It tore our camper up, tore our tent up, tore the slide-out up,” Call said.

The Calls and Mannons were closing out the fair and getting ready for another fair.

Another camper flipped over on its side onto a parked car at the fairgrounds.

Part of the roof of the Fairland Middle School next door to the fairgrounds was blown off and workers were working to secure it.

onto power lines, roofs were blown off, but the hardest hit were the Lawrence County Fairgrounds, the Fairland Middle School building and a private home that had one second-floor room completely destroyed.

“We had three or four trees down on village property, 15 trees on private property and two or three roofs blown off,” said Mayor Jimmy Buchanan. “We didn’t have any injuries but we had three power lines down.”

The most devastating damage to a private home was on Private Drive, across the street from the middle school.

Tall old oak trees surround the two-story home, owned by Tim and Dee Rucker. One of the trees split and the largest portion landed on top of the house totally destroying one bedroom in the home.

When it hit, 15-year-old Cassie Rucker was sitting at her computer behind the only wall not taken down by the tree.

“I saw it coming and I didn’t know what it was,” said Tim Rucker, Cassie’s father. “I just got back from work. When I turned off Route 7, I looked down that way and I could not see the fairground. It was black on the ground.”

When he got out of his truck, the rain was blowing sideways into his face, he said. He knew Cassie was in the house somewhere and his wife and other daughter, Sarah, 18, were gone.

“I was at the mall and my daughter called hysterical and said a tree fell on the house,” Dee Rucker said.

She was getting last minute things ready for a trip to the beach with her daughters. They were supposed to leave Wednesday morning, but cancelled the trip.

“I ran in and was hollering for her to try to get her in the basement,” Rucker said. “She was upstairs within four feet of where the tree came through.”

He grabbed his daughter and they went into the basement until the storm blew over. He had no idea of what the damage was until he opened the bedroom door.

“The whole bedroom was gone,” he said. “My kitchen’s ready to collapse if we don’t get some of this stuff cut out of the way.”

A live electric line and power pole lay in the back yard of his home. Trees on both sides of the house were down. The walls inside the house were cracking from the weight of the huge tree.

“I’m just glad that my oldest daughter wasn’t here,” Rucker said. “She made a commitment to go to the movies and did not want to go. My wife kind of shamed her into going because she’d already made a promise. But, if she hadn’t (gone), she would have been sitting there with her laptop computer where the tree hit. Thank goodness for small miracles.”

The village bell tower was also hit. At the corner of Front and Ferry streets, several large trees were down with one hitting the power lines.

“A tree came down just above here and hit a power pole and being connected pulled a couple of the others down in the back,” said Ron Starcher whose house had been without service from about 6 p.m. Tuesday night. “They hope to have it restored this afternoon, but who can tell? They’ve got a lot of problems in the area. I’m 61 years old and in all my life I’ve never seen winds as strong as they were (Tuesday). It didn’t last too long, but it was certainly devastating in the amount of time it was here.”

Leola Boston lives in the neighborhood and the storm knocked down several trees on her property.

“It’s been a mess,” she said.

Diane Mannon was at Foodfair at the time. She had a fifth wheel camper parked at the fairgrounds. Although unconfirmed by the National Weather Service in Wilmington, she said it was a tornado.

“We were watching out the window and you could see the tornado,” Mannon said. “I saw the funnel. You could see it out of the glass windows. If that wasn’t a funnel, then I don’t know what it was.”

As soon as she could, she ran over to the fairgrounds to check on her camper.

“My husband was in it,” Mannon said. “It was not just high winds, I’m telling you.”

Another camper parked next to Mannon’s camper, owned by Benny Call, was moved several feet off its blocks.

Call was in Wellston at the time. He also had a tent nearby.

“It tore our camper up, tore our tent up, tore the slide-out up,” Call said.

The Calls and Mannons were closing out the fair and getting ready for another fair.

Another camper flipped over on its side onto a parked car at the fairgrounds.

Part of the roof of the Fairland Middle School next door to the fairgrounds was blown off and workers were working to secure it.