XENIA — Roger Dobbins, and six of his family and friends are fortunate to be alive after a tornado passed directly through the family’s farm outside of Cedarville on Wednesday evening. The twister, which the National Weather Service rated at EF3, destroyed both the Dobbins home and a home owned by Doug Swaim just down the road. The storm also did damage to several other homes and buildings in the area.
Dobbins said he sent the six people who were in his home just before the tornado struck down into the concrete cellar under his house and then stepped outside to see where the storm was
“I saw it coming,” he said. He was looking at a tornado.
Dobbins quickly joined the others in the cellar where they heard the roar of the tornado passing directly overhead. While the storm was gone in a flash, its effects would be realized over the next few minutes and hours. Soon the group of seven realized they were trapped.
“I looked out a little hole and could see daylight,” said Dobbins. “The fire department guys started yelling, and I said, ‘I’m OK, I’m OK.’ We didn’t have a scratch on us.”
Eventually the rescue workers cut a hole in the debris, stuck a ladder down into the cellar and the group climbed out. It was only then that they saw the extent of the damage.
“I was too shocked to even think about it,” said Dobbins.
Grain bins were torn from their foundations, flattened and thrown across the nearby fields like pieces of paper. Twisted pieces of metal, tree branches, parts of homes, a mangled lawnmower, even a small truck and countless other pieces of debris littered the nearby fields.
Less than 24 hours later those same fields were instead littered with dozens of volunteers working to clean up the fields and buildings near the Dobbins farm.
As Dobbins, his family and friends pick through the pile of rubble that used to be the family’s home, he is thankful for the items of meaning he can find. His wedding ring. His wallet. A wristwatch. His hearing aids valued at $8,000. A purse.
“We found my grandfather’s Bible,” he said. “Then they found another Bible from another generation laying out there.”
One volunteer, Mindy Boeck of Cedarville, watched the tornado head towards the Dobbins farm. The next day she was right there to help.
“It’s what you’re supposed to do,” said Boeck. “You’re supposed to be a community. You wouldn’t want this to happen to nobody. You’re just very thankful that everyone was fine.
This is a very good community.”