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Published: Thursday, 6/24/2010

Storm rips roof from town hall in Edgerton, Ohio, firefighter injured


Storms that swept across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan Wednesday night hammered the Edgerton, Ohio, town hall, picking up its roof and dropping it on the fire station a few feet away.

A firefighter who was outside the fire station when the town hall roof collapsed was taken to a hospital in Bryan for nonlifethreatening injuries, according to a witness who answered the telephone at the Edgerton Fire Department.

He said in a later call the weight of the town hall roof was beginning to show signs of stress on the fire hall roof.

Briefly, he said there were numerous reports of storm damage in Edgerton, which is in southwest Williams County, just east of the Indiana line and just north of Defiance County.

Witnesses said there was damage in every direction viewed from the center of town, ranging from trees uprooted, limbs across streets, and electrical service out in town.

The factory roof at Oren Elliott Products Inc. on West Vine Street in Edgerton, collapsed and a tree fell atop a house on Railroad Street. Edgerton is in southwest Williams County, near the Indiana line and Defiance County.

In Archbold in western Fulton County, the storm's 50 mph winds damaged a Sauder Woodworking Co. factory roof.

Hundreds of workers in the complex went to designated tornado shelters at 9:29 p.m., according to Frank Chapa, a Sauder security worker.

Employees were cleared to return to their work stations at 11:13 p.m. and within minutes discovered severe damage to the roof of the Meyers Road plant, Mr. Chapa said.

That plant, which measures about three football fields long and half a football field wide is a production and packing area.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning until 12:15 a.m. Thursday for Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, and Wood counties in northwest Ohio.

An NWS spokesman said a line a line of severe thunderstorms capable of producing straight-line winds in excess of 60 mph whipped across southeast Michigan ripping along in a southeasterly direction.

NWS issued a tornado warning until 11:30 p.m. Wednesday for northern Allen County; southeast Defiance County; southern Henry County; southeast Paulding County; Putnam County, and northeast Van Wert County.

Weather service radar at 10:36 p.m. indicated a squall line along a line from Defiance to Convoy, Ohio, capable of producing brief rain-wrapped tornadoes and straight-line wind damage.

The Weather Service declared a tornado warning for Monroe and Lenawee counties until 11:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Shortly before 10 p.m., trained weather observers reported a tornado on the ground at Jewell and Saline Milan roads in Washtenaw County, according to NWS.

In Monroe County, trained spotters confirmed four funnel clouds at about 11 p.m.

Two were in Ash Township and the other two were in Bedford and Milan townships.

Damage, however, was limited to a few downed trees and road signs blocking side roads, according to a Monroe County dispatch supervisor.

Earlier in the evening NWS representatives issued a tornado watch for Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, and Williams counties in Ohio and Lenawee and Monroe counties in Michigan.

The watch remains in effect until 1 a.m. Thursday.

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