Air Force base structures built during WWII, used for museum restoration efforts damaged

Tornado that hit Riverside blamed for the damage.

Damage to several buildings on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base was caused by a tornado early Wednesday morning, base officials said.

“We had a tornado touch down here and a storage hangar was the primary building that took the brunt of the damage,” said Col. Travis Pond, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander. “We also had issues at the gate, as well as power lines down, and a couple of other buildings sustained minor damage. The best takeaway is that no personnel were injured.”

The storage hangar, which is situated near the Air Force Museum, is one of three historic buildings in Area B, all of which are used for the museum’s restoration and refurbishment efforts.

PHOTOS: Scenes of storm damage in Riverside and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

The three buildings were constructed at the beginning of World War II, according to museum Director David Tillotson.

“These are where the B-29s were modified for the atomic mission, so they have some historic value,” he said.

Crews were on site Wednesday working on the damaged areas of the structures, and Tillotson said the rehabilitation of the buildings will be completed with this historic significance in mind.

The building that sustained the most damage is primarily used for storage, according to Tillotson, who noted the actual artifact restoration process conducted by the museum’s engineers is carried out in the two buildings which received only slight structural damage.

Tillotson said that while some of the artifacts sitting within the storage building — which includes six aircraft awaiting restoration and a missile system — sustained some damage, it’s considered minor.

A wing from a B17 belonging to the Smithsonian Museum that’s stored within the building was unscathed, however.

“Just in case the Smithsonian is watching this presser, that wing appears undamaged,” Tillotson confirmed.

Sitting outside of the restoration storage building is a damaged F-104 Star Fighter aircraft. Tillotson said this aircraft was awaiting pick-up to be recycled.

“Basically, it was a parts bird for the aircraft that sits in front of the museum,” he said. “We used the wings off of it and a couple of other things to upgrade that aircraft, and this one was scheduled for disposal.”

Museum and base officials said a total cost of the damage is not yet known and a full assessment is ongoing.

Initially the base closed Gate 22B near Interstate 675, but it has since been reopened. Officials said museum operations have continued as normal.

WATCH: See the damage across Riverside, Clark County caused by Wednesday’s tornadoes

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