FREDERICKTOWN — A storm that swept across northern Knox County on Tuesday afternoon caused wide spread damage to trees, power lines and buildings.
Heavy wind, rain and hail hit Fredericktown just after 5 p.m. It roared east hitting the Mishey Road area, the Upper Fredericktown-Amity Road area and spread north to North Liberty.
Don Love’s dairy operation on Butler Road was hit hard. Two large barns were knocked down just as Love was getting ready to milk his 50 head of cows. Love said it all happened very quickly.
“There was just a big blow and I looked and saw one barn down, then looking again saw the other one down,” Love said.
Love said his livestock was unharmed by what he called a straight-line wind. The cement block milking parlor was spared but was without electricity rendering Love unable to milk. A large metal silo on the farm was partly caved in near the top of the 80-foot-high structure. It is not known what caused the damage.
A mile north of the Love farm, a 32-by-50-foot barn on the Ab Raber farm, on Crooked Street, was demolished. Raber said he feels it was a tornado.
“It was very loud, if it wasn’t tornado what was it?” There were trees down around his property but the only other damage to building was a 2-by-4-foot piece of lumber went through the roof of his workshop.
Next to the Rabers, the roof was blown off a barn on the Brian and Rhonda Sellers’ farm. Roofing was blown a couple of hundred yards across the property and onto Crooked Street.
Eric Doup said he had just completely remodeled a pole barn at 18540 North Liberty Road. It was lifted up off the cement slab, breaking the support poles and dropped in a crumbled heap.
There was only a lawn mower in the shed. His pickup is usually in the shed but he was away at the time. Part of the shed was blown about 200 yards away where it was lodged in trees at the edge of a woods. A last irony, he is a lineman for AEP and was without power.
Fredericktown Fire Chief Scott Mast said he was at the high school when the storm hit. In addition to the deluge of rain, the area was also hit by hail.
“I drove east on Fredericktown-Amity Road and there was hail the size of marbles. This road had trees down at several places and they took down power lines,” Mast said.
The department had 15 firefighters out clearing roads with chain saws they carry on all the department vehicles, along with extra fuel. They worked until about 8 p.m., Mast said.
Smith Road, which runs parallel and south of Fredericktown-Amity Road was hit. Farm barns on the Robinson and Dilts properties were also damaged in the storm.
The Knox County Highway Department had three crews out Tuesday night until dark clearing trees that fell across county roads. A spokesman at the department said crew were out again this morning to continue removing fallen trees.
Knox County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to the storm area Tuesday evening with reports received by dispatchers. Most were of trees down, many across power lines. The Nunda Road area was in the line of the heavy winds and suffered damage to buildings.
The Energy Cooperative reported power outages affecting 3,500 customers in the Apple Valley, Palmyra and Jelloway areas at about 6 p.m. By 10 p.m., the outage included the Beechwood and Mount Vernon areas although the number of customers affected was down to 2,000, according to Brad Byrd, director of marketing and public relations.
American Electric Power said at the peak of the storm Tuesday evening they had 2,050 customers without power. Crew working all night had all but 64 back in service this morning.
Downed power lines can be extremely dangerous and should be considered to be energized. Residents are warned not to touch, move or repair a downed power line. Instead, call the power company to report the incident. The Energy Cooperative can be reached at 1 (888) 535-5732. American Electric Power can be reached by calling 1 (800) 277-2177.