Several hundred people gathered Tuesday night in east Columbus to protest a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
Tornado Damages Columbus Homes
The National Weather Service says a tornado touched down in northeastern Columbus Wednesday night. Investigators visited the Upper Albany West sub-division after reports of extensive damage. No one was hurt.
Franklin County emergency management says two houses under construction were leveled, four more have been ruled too dangerous to occupy and at least 15 need repair.
Damage and debris from the tornado were spread across several blocks of the Upper Albany West subdivision. Pieces of siding still hang from the limbs of trees; the trunks of some pine trees were snapped clean off by the winds. Homeowner Mary Lovejoy says she was napping just before 7 last night when the sounds of a tornado siren and what she thought was a train woke her up.
“And so I looked out my back door and it was a really loud train so I knew it was a tornado,” says Lovejoy. “So I grabbed my two little dogs and barely made it into the crawl space when it passed over. It was just shaking the entire house and it got even louder and I felt it pass over and through.”
Lovejoy and her dogs Checkers and Lucy were not injured. And neither were any neighbors. But the storm left holes in her roof; her back fence is missing, and her garage is damaged. Two homes nearby were leveled. County auditor Joe Testa who surveyed the area with a team of appraisers says people are entitled to reduced real estate taxes based on the amount of their losses.
“There are small things like gutters, downspouts, fences, siding, things like that,” Testa says. “But obviously some of the roofs are bad; some of them are blown out. Garages are missing entirely and some of these people won’t be able to move back into their houses. So some of them will have to be torn down.”
Mary Lovejoy says she’s only lived in her home since May. Now the exterior is speckled with mud and grass and a piece of someone else’s siding has punched a hole in hers. She says it will be months before life returns to normal.