OHIO — Tornadoes tore across Ohio flattening homes and trailers in an RV park and killing at least three people, authorities said. Crews and cadaver dogs searched for more victims in the rubble before search operations concluded Friday.

What You Need To Know

  • Chief Deputy Joe Kopus of the Logan County Sheriff's Office in Bellefontaine, Ohio, confirmed three fatalities in an email to The Associated Press early Friday
  • Law enforcement in Logan County near Indian Lake reported extensive damage with one official saying a mobile home park in Russells Point was one of the hardest hit areas

  • Amber Fagan, president and chief executive of the Indian Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, said Lakeview was “completely demolished”

  • Three people suffered non life-threatening injuries as storms moved through Celina in Mercer County

It appeared the worst hit was the Indian Lake area in Logan County, northwest of Columbus, with the villages of Lakeview and Russells Point devastated.

Sheriff Randy Dodds noted at a press conference Friday afternoon at Indian Lake High School that the search and rescue mission had been completed and that everyone is accounted for. The names of the victims have not been released.

“Which, when you see this damage, you’ll be surprised that that was only three,” he said.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted joined Dodds and several state and local officials at the press conference Friday afternoon, where they expressed their sympathy for the community and praised its resilience.

Sima Merick, the executive director of Ohio Emergency Management Agency, said they will continue to work with the local county emergency management to conduct damage assessments.

“Those damage assessments are the integral part to assessing loss, insurance and then moving that forward for financial assistance, recovery, long-term recovery, however that would most affect this community,” she said.

Search crews went into neighborhoods that had been blocked by gas leaks and fallen trees overnight and made a second pass in areas that were checked in the darkness right after the storm, Dodds said.

Damage in Lakeview at Indian Lake after Thursday night's storms. (Spectrum News 1/Jamilah Muhammad)

All major roads near Lakeview and Russell's Point are closed.

First responders said that the damage made it difficult for them to respond in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

Amber Fagan, president and chief executive of the Indian Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, said Lakeview was “completely demolished,” with homes, campgrounds and a laundromat hard-hit by the tornado.

“There’s places burning,” she said. “There’s power lines through people’s windows.”

In Lakeview, Sandy Smith was walking down the stairs with her cat to seek shelter in a laundry room with her family when the roof came down.

“A couple flashes of light, and then everything just peppered against the house,” she said. Her husband then saw their garage blow away.

The storm sheared off the tops of homes and damaged a campground and laundromat, leaving twisted metal wrapped in the tops of trees. Snowplows cleared debris from roads.

Many of the homes in the area are used as summer cottages by people who come for fishing and boating.

About 25 people were treated for mostly broken bones and internal injuries at the nearest hospital in Bellefontaine, said Laura Miller, a spokesperson for Mary Rutan Hospital.The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said the Indian Lake State Park would be closed until further notice.

The county has several shelters to help storm victims.

Officials with Richland County Emergency Management said several homes were damaged in the northwestern corner of the county. Damage was reported near the village of Plymouth where officials asked people to avoid the area near 598 and West Road.

Rebecca Owens, Richland County EMA Director, said during a press conference Friday afternoon most of the damage was debris being scattered across fields including round bales of hay.

There were three homes damaged near Plymouth on West Road, with one home remaining uninhabitable. 

The residents of the uninhabitable home, where a car was flipped on its side, stayed with family Thursday night, Owens said. A barn was also destroyed, but the livestock that had been inside were fine.

Owens said no injuries had been reported in Richland or Crawford counties. 

Assistant Fire Chief Troy Hass said the fire department members who were out with the storm radioed ahead after spotting the funnel cloud, only visible when lightning lit up the sky.

"Today is a totally different visual than what you would have seen last night," Hass said.

Storm damage in Plymouth, Ohio after Thursday night's storms. (Spectrum News 1/Kimberly Perez)

Three people suffered non life-threatening injuries as storms moved through Celina in Mercer County. Damage was reported in several parts of the county, including an area near Skeels Road at the Indiana state border.

The National Weather Service said Friday morning it plans to survey damage in Darke, Miami, Mercer, Auglaize, Logan, Delaware and Licking counties. Meteorologists will examine the damage to determine the strength, path and other details of any tornadoes that touched down.

More storm damage in Plymouth, Ohio after Thursday night's storms. (Spectrum News 1/Kimberly Perez)

Deleware County Emergency Management said they are continuing to assess damage in the county Friday. A shelter is available at the Delaware Community YMCA, located at 1121 S Houk Road, operated by The American Red Cross Central & Southern Ohio Region.

County officials are asking people to avoid traveling in areas heavily affected by the storms to allow crews to work.

Olentangy Local School District said Thursday’s storms caused damage to several schools. The district canceled classes Friday. Berlin Middle and Berlin High School both suffered extensive damage and several buildings in the district still had no power.

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency, Ohio State Highway Patrol and Ohio Department of Transportation are coordinating on the response to Thursday’s storms. The state's Emergency Operations Center has also been activated.

The Department of Health is securing a generator and “mass fatality supplies to support the local hospital” and working with the Logan County Health Department “to monitor the need for volunteers to help in relief efforts”, according to a press release.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.