Multiple Park Layne business owners have started the cleanup process after a tornado with 100 mph winds touched down in the area on Wednesday night.
Extensive damage was done to the local Sunoco gas station and Family Dollar. A community staple, the Mel-0-Dee restaurant suffered electrical damage and lost an air conditioning unit from the roof.
Clark County Emergency Management Agency officials are still working to determine the amount of damage that was done, Bethel Twp. Fire Chief Jacob King said.
“We are still trying to calculate that,” he said. “Waiting on a lot of input from the public.”
The Mel-o-Dee will be closed for at least a couple of weeks, General Manager Woody Childers said.
“We’ve got some structural damage that has to be taken care of before the building can be occupied,” Childers said.
Workers were at the restaurant on Friday to start on the electric work, but he said the holiday weekend will likely slow things down.
“Everybody is pitching in. Employees are asking if they can volunteer and help,” he said.
But it could have been much worse, Childers said. About 20 people, employees and customers, were in the restaurant when the tornado touched down and nobody was injured.
“The employees got in the walk-in cooler and the customers got in the restrooms,” Childers said. “The building is not damaged to where it can’t be repaired.”
Four other tornadoes have been confirmed from the storms on Wednesday night by the National Weather Service. One hit a mobile home park in Medway.
An EF0 touched down in Fayette County and another hit Warren County. Still another hit near Piqua in Miami County.
A sign from the Sunoco station damaged in Park Layne was found blown miles away in Troy.
Gas station owner Dave Closey said his employee left work minutes before the tornado hit and could have been seriously injured if she had still been there.
Most residents and businesses that were affected in Clark County have insurance, King said.
“It does allow for a more rapid recovery time,” he said.
The county will need to inspect local businesses that were damaged by the tornado to make sure they’re safe before they can re-open, he said.
“I feel like we’re very fortunate that we still had no injuries and very limited impact to the entire community,” King said.
The employees at the Me-O-Dee may struggle because they aren’t able to work, Childers said.
“We’re going to set up an account for them if they need money for groceries or prescription drugs,” he said.