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Storm knocks trees down, damages properties

County Roads 21, 22, 29 hit

Storms and heavy winds struck the outskirts of Ironton Wednesday evening, knocking down around 100 trees and damaging several properties.

The majority of the damage came on County Road 21 (Porter Gap Road) and County Road 22 (Lawrence Street).

Upper Township Fire Chief J.D. Pancake said his department got a call regarding a woman trapped in her house on County Road 21 between 7 and 8 p.m.

“We weren’t able to get through County Road 21, so we contacted the Coal Grove Fire Department to see if they could assist,” he said. “We started cutting trees and pulling them off of the roadway. There were trees and power lines down everywhere.”

Coal Grove Fire Chief Gary Sherman said his department was able to get so far down County Road 21 from the State Route 93 side, but it was quickly verified that the original call of the woman trapped in her house was not the case.

“I was only in one small area, but we were surrounded by dozens of trees that were down,” he said. “We worked for about two hours cutting trees that were down and tangled with power lines before AEP made us stop, given the darkness and number of trees. They chose to wait until the morning.”

Lawrence County Engineer Patrick Leighty said the damage on County Road 21 was in a more concentrated area than that of the damage on County Road 22, with numerous trees down at both locations, but more damage to properties on County Road 21, including garages, roofs, windows and vehicles. The trees down on County Road 22 were in a wider area.

“I can’t tell you exactly that it was a tornado, but all indications are that it was,” Leighty said.

The National Weather Service later reported that it was a tornado.

He added that a report of several trees down on County Road 29 was also reported, concluding the reports from the storm.

Currently, County Road 22 is open, County Road 29 is open and County Road 21 is still closed as repairs are taking place.

Assisting Wednesday were the Upper Township Fire Department, Coal Grove Fire Department, Elizabeth Township Fire Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, AEP, county engineers and dozens of neighbors.