Strong winds damage church, homes in Cloverdale - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Strong winds damage church, homes in Cloverdale

The storm heavily damaged St. Barbara Catholic Church. (Source: The Kehres) The storm heavily damaged St. Barbara Catholic Church. (Source: The Kehres)
Everyone tries to help pick up the pieces. Everyone tries to help pick up the pieces.
Trees can be found laying in numerous yards. (Source: Diana Lawhorn) Trees can be found laying in numerous yards. (Source: Diana Lawhorn)
Homes are left in pieces. (Source: Mike James) Homes are left in pieces. (Source: Mike James)
The storm left a devastating mess. (Source: Mike James) The storm left a devastating mess. (Source: Mike James)
CLOVERDALE, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Strong winds whipped through the village Cloverdale Sunday, knocking down power lines, uprooting trees and leaving many residents in shock.

Driving through Putnam County, you can see trees down, windows blown straight out of homes, even car parts scattered across fields. There is no doubt Putnam County was hit hard by Sunday's storm, but the area hit hardest is Cloverdale. Residents say the clean-up is just beginning.

Neighbors have been working together to cut down tree limbs and clear debris in their yards. Two temporary shelters were set up overnight: one at parish hall, right next to St. Barbara's Church and the other at a nursing home in the village.

Jim Horseman has lived in Cloverdale for more than 30 years. He found minor damage to his home, but right down the road, a bathroom was thrown from a mobile home.

"It looked like Dooms Day, and I haven't even seen the worst yet, the worst is uptown," said Horseman.

About a mile and a half from Horseman's home is St. Barbara Catholic Church. The winds were so strong, the roof was blown off. The fire chief says only the front entrance is still standing at the church property, the structure has been leveled and it's a total loss. Parishioners, along with volunteers and firefighters, have been going through the rubble to try and salvage whatever they can, from foldable chairs and tables, to boxes of candles. But many things, like their beloved stained glass windows, can't be saved.

Many parishioners say one of the strangest - and possibly inspiring - things about the damage, is that Sunday's service was actually about destruction and chaos.

"It was kind of ironic as I was talking about the clutter in our lives, we have a lot of clutter here this morning. Jesus was right on on his prophecy about the destruction of the temple, but when it came to our prophecy about when a tornado is going to strike, or when a hurricane is going to strike, we can predict that one may be approaching, but we can't predict where or when its going to hit," said Father Jerry Schetter.

Schetter says the church does plan to rebuild in the same location where it has been since the 1980s. He believes disasters like this will only make them stronger.

According to the Red Cross, no one was injured at the church. The Red Cross says it is assisting 14 homes: 10 are destroyed, three incurred major damage, and one incurred minor damage. The mayor of Cloverdale says four families completely lost their homes and cars.

"Over half the structures in this village have major damage. We have approximately 60 households, and there are over 30 that are severely damaged," said Mayor Judd Spencer.

The Red Cross has opened a shelter at Oak Haven Residential Center, located at 125 Main Street in Cloverdale, where it is providing meals on site and on the go in Cloverdale and Dupont through its Emergency Response Vehicle.

Emergency officials say power will be out in the entire village for six to eight days.

Fire officials there say keeping the power off is actually by choice. As clean up continues, the biggest problem is downed power lines. If they were live, they would present a serious safety issue for residents and anyone else driving through the area.

Firefighters say there's no telling when electric crews will make it out to the area, with so many other communities without power across the state, that's why they need the lines to stay off for now.

"Yes, until the power company gets the line back up and hooked up and running, because there are just lines down everywhere - along state route 114, the incoming lines and a lot of power lines in town are torn down," said Chief Dan Honigford, of the Ottoville Fire Department.

Many residents say they're staying with family outside of the area if possible. The Red Cross is set up at the parish hall on Main Street for those who need shelter.

Find more storm damage reports around northwest Ohio here.

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