Goshen suffers ‘extensive’ tornado damage, state of emergency declared
‘Goshen got lucky, but we have a lot of damage and a lot of people hurting right now.’
NOTE: The Red Cross has set up a shelter at Goshen High School, 6707 Goshen Road. Food, water and shelter are being provided. Pets are welcome; they will be kept in a separate area.
Clermont County Emergency Management Agency asks that you use this number 513-735-8500 for non-emergency unmet needs, or wanting to donate items.
CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - Goshen is under a state of emergency after a confirmed radar-indicated tornado ripped through northern Clermont County Wednesday afternoon.
There is “extensive damage” to hundreds of homes, according to township administrator Stephen Pegram. The majority of the damage is from trees falling on or going through homes and roofs being blown off.
Some structures, according to Pegram, are “totally demolished.”
“At this point we know that a tornado hit Goshen. We don’t know how severe the tornado was. We have extensive damage in what we refer to as ‘downtown Goshen’ and in the outskirts heading south,” Pegram said.
There are two confirmed injuries at this time, a firefighter injured by a chainsaw and a civilian injured by debris. The injuries are minor, and both are conscious.
“The fact that we do not have a lot of injuries or any fatalities is a blessing,” Pegram said, adding he’s been involved in deadly tornado responses before. “[...]I think Goshen got lucky, but we have a lot of damage and a lot of people hurting right now.”
An early Red Cross assessment includes the following areas in the damage zone: Goshen proper, Goshen Township, the Lakeshore Estates Mobile Home Park and Loveland in Clermont County. Impacts also exist in Indiana, Kentucky and Central Ohio “but in significantly smaller numbers,” according to a Red Cross spokesperson.
The Red Cross and the National Weather Service will conduct full assessments Thursday. Duke Energy is working to restore power.
Matthew 25: Ministries’ Disaster Response Team will be in Goshen Thursday to deliver personal care and first aid supplies to residents in need.
One Goshen Fire Department building took “a direct hit,” according to Pegram. The hope is to have part of that building reopened Wednesday night.
“We have extensive damage to one of our fire stations and extensive damage to our police station, which obviously has caused an issue with coordinating a response,” he said.
A regional command post is set up. The city is receiving mutual aid from police, fire and EMS agencies from several surrounding counties. Ohio State Highway Patrol is on scene assisting with traffic.
The tornado touched down around 3 p.m. as part of a large storm front that swept across the Tri-State.
“The blessing was the storm came through very quickly, so within a few minutes, [...]it was still raining a little bit, but the sky was clear, which is what often happens in tornado-type events,” Pegram said. “So we were able to start sending out emergency personnel right away.”
The main issue remains electrical wires that must be removed before crews can begin debris removal in parts of the damage area.
Pegram says it’s going to be “days” before some people get their power back.
First responders are going door-to-door at every property in the damage zone to make sure folks’ needs are met. They will continue to do so through the weekend, Pegram says.
The National Weather Service will conduct a preliminary storm survey Thursday morning in northern Clermont County.
“Based on radar data and initial images from around the Goshen area, it is believed a tornado was responsible for at least some of the damage. The National Weather Service is working with Clermont County Emergency Management in relation to this planned survey,” a NWS spokesperson said.
A final assessment including results of the survey are expected to be completed Thursday evening.
Viewer-submitted video (in the playlist above) shows widespread damage outside the Goshen Skyline, including tree limbs down, debris across roadways and windows shattered in buildings.
Our full gallery of viewer-submitted photos and videos is below.
State Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) issued the following statement Wednesday evening.
“As the state representative for the people of Goshen Township, gathering resources for the area is among my top priorities at this time. I’ve been in contact with township officials to discuss next steps and how to best care for those most impacted.
“Parts of Goshen Township have been devastated by this tornado, resulting in the displacement of residents and businesses. My heart is broken for these families and hardworking Ohioans.
“I ask that citizens across the state join me in prayer for the victims of this horrific storm that has hit my community and the surrounding area.”
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