by David Miller
Goshen and Miami Township (Clermont County), Ohio – A EF2 tornado with winds at 135 mph touched down along a 4.5 mile path in Goshen Township and a EF1 tornado touched down in the Bell Meade Farms neighborhood in Miami Township on Thursday, July 6 leaving physical scars and trauma that will last lifetimes.
Goshen Township Administrator Steve Pegram said he doesn’t believe the outdoor warning sirens sounded and a tornado watch had not been declared. It was the alert he received on his smart phone that first indicated trouble was brewing. He said in a news conference that the outdoor siren at the township fire station did not “go off”. He said they activate the siren after receiving a weather alert and that the storm hit about 30-seconds after receiving an alert on his phone. He continued, “So, there probably wasn’t even time to push the button” which would activate the siren. The station and administration building almost immediately took a direct hit from the storm, resulting in extensive damage and it could not be used for emergency operations. “The building the siren was on was destroyed, and I can’t speak to any other sirens”
Pegram said. He began coordinating emergency responsesusing using only his smart phone to coordinate emergency responses until the Hamilton County fire chiefs provided them with a portable command vehicle, an RV, to operate from. In the early hours of the storm, Pegram used the Township FaceBook page to give regular updates to residents and the media. It’s all he had.
Pegram was in his office when the storm hit and windows had already started blowing out as he and staff were on the steps leading to the basement.
Pegram encourages people to install a weather alert app on their smart-phone and to check with the county Homeland Security websites for more information about alert systems.
In the end, about one-third of the administration and police building was on the ground and had a gas leak that lasted for about five hours, according to Pegram.
Goshen Police parking lot surveillance video
On July 6, Goshen Township reported only 2 confirmed injuries. A state of emergency was declared at 5:43 PM. It has since been reported there were three injuries, two residents hit by falling debris and one firefighter injured while using a chainsaw. There were no fatalities, either in Goshen or Miami Township. Between 150 to 200 structures were damaged in Goshen Township.
A Red Cross emergency shelter was established at Goshen High School at 6707 Goshen Road where emergency oxygen equipment was also available for people’s medical needs. Shelter, bottled water, and food were available. Food donations can also be delivered to the high school.
An emergency hotline has been established – 513-735-8500. The non-emergency number is 513-732-2231. Call 911 in an emergency.
Pegram said that each and every structure with damage was being inspected by the Township as well as the Clermont County Building Department and the County Emergency Management Agency. He said that perhaps 25% of the homes in the township had significant damage. He said the Duke Energy estimated that more than one-hundred “power poles” would need to be replaced before they could begin stringing new wires and it will, “take days”.
In a news conference Pegram spoke about Goshen being a tight-knit community and said that by the time he made it home to check on his own house, neighbors had already cleared his street of tree limbs.
There are two, 40 Yard Rumpke dumpsters provided by Clermont County Solid Waste available at the old Green School property on Goshen Road across from McDonald’s and available for residents to dump trash and debris.
“Woody” debris should not go in the trash, tree limbs, brush, etc should be pulled to the curb for pick up which will start Monday morning and continue most of the week.
The Township asks, “Please cut tree debris into small manageable pieces – 4’ is preferred”.
Township Service Director Chad Meadows looked out his office window to see the tornado already on the ground.
“Administrative personnel made it halfway down the stairs as windows exploded,” said Chief of Police, Bob Rose on FaceBook. “Officers in the police department didn’t have time to get to the basement, taking cover in rooms with no windows and a closet. Firefighter/medics at Station 18 took cover in a bathroom as a portion of their firehouse collapsed.” Rose continued, “I put out ‘an all’ call on the radio for any available unit to respond and officers came from everywhere, racing to the many different streets and neighborhoods affected. All of our neighbors that were not dealing with their own storm-related calls responded as well as agencies from much further away. I heard or saw police officers from as far away as Bethel, Batavia, Amberly Village, and many more. The Ohio State Highway Patrol sent troopers from all surrounding counties. The story is the same for fire departments. Engines and ambulances from all over responded.”
From the Goshen Township FaceBook page, “We have a lot of clean up activities scheduled for Saturday including hundreds of volunteers and dozens of Police, Fire, Public Works and Utility companies. The basic message is if you don’t live in Goshen, work here or have ‘official’ business, please stay away.” It is a rural community with an urban traffic problem. A lot of roads will be closed either temporarily or most of the day to help facilitate clean-up and recovery efforts.
WAYS TO HELP
• Donations can be taken to Goshen High School at 6707 Goshen Road.
• Stay away: Emergency services, road crews, Duke Energy, the many tree companies, and more respectfully request sightseers avoid the area. Traffic congestion is slowing work and causing gridlock at times. The basic message is if you don’t live there, work there or have “official” business please stay away.
• Dear Loveland Community:
Yesterday, a community close to us experienced a devastating tornado. Goshen has been declared a state of emergency. We have family that lives in Goshen and luckily they are safe. We would love to have the neighborhood help the families of Goshen in this time of need. Please consider donating bottled water, nonperishable food items, gift cards, new blankets, new pillows, etc. Many of these families are displaced. We are providing our mom’s Venmo account if you are unable to go purchase items, but want to donate money. We will take the money to buy items needed for families.
Please drop off any donations to: 10100 Sleepy Ridge Drive (at the corner). We will take donations by the garage or on the porch. Please look for signs that we will put out. Also, Loveland Magazine will be helping us collect items. You can drop off items at their location at 243 Wall Street.
Brady and Connor Burns
Loveland High School Students
• Goshen Tornado Relief Fund
A Disaster Relief Fund has been established by Connect Clermont, an IRS-approved 501c3 nonprofit. All donations are to be used for Goshen area disaster relief from recent tornadoes.
Checks are the preferred means of donation. Please make checks out to “Connect Clermont” with Goshen area relief in the memo line, and mail to:
c/o Disaster Relief Fund
2400 Clermont Center Drive
Batavia, OH 45103
Cash or check donations can be brought to any Park National Bank location.
Venmo and Zelle deposit capabilities are being organized. Details will be forthcoming.
• Loveland Legacy Foundation is actively collecting tax-deductible donations in support of the victims of the recent tornado in our area. A matching grant has been offered for the first $2500 collected.
• The Wicked Pickle: To our neighbors in Goshen we will be accepting Donations starting tomorrow all weekend long to help support our sister community. Donations can be made at the tiki hut by cash or Credit card. 100% of all proceeds will be sent to the City of Goshen. Please share this post and hope to see you all this weekend at the Pickle.
Use the following numbers for services:
9-1-1 for emergencies
513-732-2231 for Police/Fire Non-Emergencies
513-735-8500 for any/all storm-related needs.
If you experienced any damage from the storm, the Ohio Department of Insurance has a toolkit that can help you through the insurance claim filing process: http://insurance.ohio.gov/…/home…/severe-weather-toolkit. Have questions? Email [email protected] OR call 1-800-686-1526.
Move2Loveland: To our Goshen Ohio neighbors, our office is just down the street!
Please feel free to stop in for some cool A/C, power to charge your devices, and internet as well
Our thoughts and prayers are with those that lost homes and any treasured possessions.
We are here M-F from 9-5.
Clermont County Board of DD: We are collecting items for those affected by the Goshen and Wayne Township tornado on July 6. If you have non-perishable food items you would like to donate, you can drop them off at the Wildey Center, Main Entrance Door A-1, at any time the gates are open. Just leave your items inside the door in the vestibule. THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATIONS!
Here are some suggested items:
• bottled water or water in gallon jugs
• peanut butter
• jelly in plastic bottles
• crackers of all kinds
• canned meat (such as canned chicken that requires no cooking)
• canned soups (water can be heated on a camp stove or grill to make this a hot meal)
• tea bags
• canned pasta (such as Spaghetti O’s or ravioli)
• canned fruit
• powdered milk
• juice boxes
• granola bars
• fruit snacks
• cereal bars
LIFE FOOD PANTRY
RESIDENTS AFFECTED BY POWER OUTAGES—Loveland, Goshen, Milford and outlying areas
LOVELAND LIFE FOOD PANTRY 541 Loveland Madeira Rd. will be open Thursday 10-noon and 4-6:30, Friday and Saturday 10-noon. Please come and let us assist you with food, personal care, diapers, household products. We want to help!
NEWS FROM MIAMI TOWNSHIP
Due to the significant storm event that occurred in parts of Miami Township on July 6th, the
Township Service Department will begin limited curbside brush pickup. Due to the large
volume involved and the time required to get back to normal, the weekly duties of the Service
Department, the curbside pickup will occur in those neighborhoods that had the storm damage
and are not intended for general pruning of trees that residents may take advantage of in other
parts of the Township. The areas of the Township that will receive the brush pickup will be the
neighborhoods along the Branch Hill-Guinea Pike corridor as far north as approximately the
Belle Meade neighborhood, to the east as far as the State Route 48/Smith Road area and
extending down to SR 28. The areas impacted that will have curbside brush pickup are shown
approximately in the area in red on the map, below.
The items will be limited to only tree limbs and brush, not construction materials or trash.
Property owners will need to have the brush placed along the edge of the road or back of the curb
outside of any lanes of travel.
As always, all Township residents may also utilize the Township’s brush voucher program by
picking up free brush vouchers at the Miami Township Civic Center or the Miami Township
Police Department and then drop off tree limbs and brush at the Bzak Landscaping located at
931 Round Bottom Road.
For additional information, please contact the Service Department at 513-248-3728 or the
Township Administration at 513-248-3725.
CIVIC CENTER OPEN
Reminder to residents that the Township Civic Center is open and has power and public WiFi. Feel free to come up to charge phones or cool off. Please stay safe!
Photos from the Miami Township Police Department