2002

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Storm damages school, hospital in Fostoria

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- Map of the path of the tornado -
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- Path seen from space -

Sunday November 10, 2002 

  FOSTORIA -- A tornado ripped a northeasterly path through the city late Sunday afternoon, November 10, 2002, damaging houses in the southwest and touching down on or near the hospital and St. Wendelin High School.
More from Tiffin Advertiser
 
Fierce storm tears Fostoria
By DENISE GRANT
Findlay Courier Nov.11,2002
 
    Western Fostoria looked like a war zone Sunday night after a fierce storm and a tornado clobbered the town, but the mayor spoke of the city's good fortune -- there were no fatalities or serious injuries reported there.
More from Findlay Courier
 

STORM RIPS FOSTORIA

FROM R/t Article by Gene Kinn

November 11, 2002

 
    Today Nov. 11, was supposed to have been a Veterans Day holiday for city employees, but virtually all of them have been called in to cope with the damage caused by the tornado that struck the city on Sunday on Nov. 10th.
More from Fostoria R/t
 
 Click here for pictures

 Three Days after tornado rips through Fostoria

 Nov. 13, 2002

 
    Initial surveys conducted by the Ohio Emergency Management Agency indicate that eight homes in the city limits of Fostoria were destroyed. Another nine suffered major damage, 34 had minor damage and another 35 or so also were affected.
 
More

 
Fostoria Family finds tombstone in foundation
 
    Sunday's tornado led a local man to a surprise finding from the 1800's in his West Tiffin Street house on Tuesday.  A tombstone was found in the foundation of the brick house at 840 W. Tiffin St.
 
The Rest of the Story
 

Grand jury gets fatal Fostoria arson case

By Ryan Good
Staff Writer advertiser-tribune
 FOSTORIA July 20th - The case of a city man accused of starting the fatal July 4th fire at the Doeshire Inn is in the hands of a Seneca County Grand Jury.
    Benjamin L. Greeno, 25, 461 W. Lytle St., Lot 220, waived a preliminary hearing Thursday in municipal court. Judge John Hadacek then bound the case over to Seneca County Common Pleas Court for possible indictment.
    Greeno was charged by Fostoria Police with one count of aggravated arson and two counts of involuntary manslaughter, all felonies. Under Ohio law, municipal courts cannot hear felony cases.
Hadacek previously set Greeno's bond at $1 million cash.
    Seneca County Prosecutor Ken Egbert Jr. said Friday that he has received some but not all of the evidence in the case from the various law enforcement agencies that participated in the investigation.
Once all of the information is received, Egbert said he hopes to present a full case to a grand jury in the next couple of weeks.
    Keith Loreno, a deputy state fire marshal, has taken some evidence from the scene, according to a search warrant filed in the municipal court case July 12.
 
    According to an inventory in the search warrant, items taken from the building include:
* A locked Master lock, with parts of a door frame and door from the east fire escape on the third floor.
* A fire extinguisher.
* Debris taken from the second floor men's shower room and from the middle of the first floor.
* A rubber mat and melted plastic debris from the second floor men's shower room.
    Ten area fire departments responded to the scene at 114-120 E. Tiffin St. The fire was reported at 1:37 a.m. The Fostoria Fire Department was called out one minute later, and were on scene by 1:41 a.m.
    Four-year-old Jamese Williamson and 84-year-old Richard Rayle were killed in the fire, which was set with an "incendiary device," according to Greeno's charges.
    The owner of the building, Lloyd Doe, has said previously that 16 people were living in the 100-plus-year-old former hotel at the time of the fire.
    Demolition plans are in the works for the Doeshire building, but it remains to be seen if the neighboring Doug's Tavern also will be knocked down.
 

 Fostoria pays tribute to Mel Murray

By Jefferson Wolfe
Staff Writer advertiser-tribune
 
FOSTORIA - Friday Oct. 25th was Mel Murray Day in Fostoria.
 
    The Kaubisch Memorial Public Library's refurbished reference section was named after Murray, who has been on the library board for nearly 50 years.
 "I'm just really flattered that they would do that for me," he said.
    Murray said the new look for the downstairs reference room is "classy."
Murray came to Fostoria in 1949 as the manager of the city's radio station, WFOB. He had graduated earlier that year from Ohio State University with a degree in speech. Before attending college, he served in the Army Air Corps in World War II.
    In 1954, Murray became a library trustee, and has remained one ever since. He also has served as president of the library board.
    "He's the longest serving board member," said Richard Mann, the current library board president.
In addition to his time on the board, Murray has used the library's research materials to write three books. Two were about Fostoria glass and the third was about Charles Foster, for whom the city was named.
Murray estimated that the research time he spent in the library would measure several months, if placed end to end.
    As a member of the library's board, Murray has worked to ensure that all the reference materials are up to date. The library has a lot of early newspapers, including Fostoria, Tiffin and Bowling Green.
    Murray recently donated his collection of Charles Foster's letters to the library, Mann said.
    The reference section was refurbished this summer, at a cost of about $70,000, Mann said.
    Library Design, a firm from Powell that specializes in restoring old libraries, spearheaded the project.
    In July, the basement was cleared out and stripped to the bare walls. Some of the smaller materials were stored in the library, but the Roppe Corp. donated a semi trailer in which some of the larger items were stored, Mann said.
    The old shelving is being used, but was painted electrostatically, Mann said. This means that the shelves are charged electrically so the paint will stick.
    Some of the old oak desks were refinished at Tiffin Town Antiques.
    It took about two days to move everything back when the project was finished at the end of August.
    During the dedication ceremony, Mayor John Davoli read a proclamation declaring it "Mel Murray Day" in Fostoria. Davoli told Murray he will always admire him.
    "When I think of Mel Murray, I think of a classy fellow," the mayor said. "A gentleman's gentleman."
City Council Clerk Paul Allison presented Murray with a city council resolution honoring Murray for his years of service to the city.
    Murray also received proclamations from Rep. Paul Gillmor, R-Old Fort, and Ohio Gov. Bob Taft.

Countyline St. opens to two-way traffic November 21st
 
    It's been a long time coming , but North County line Street finally opened today Nov. 21, 2002 to two-way traffic.
    For the first time since July, the section of North Countyline Street between the Junction with Perrysburg Road and Jones/Stearns Road bore vehicles traveling both north and south.
    The highway has been widened to include a turn lane, and new curbs, gutters and sidewalks have been added. The roadway will be closed again next spring for a short period while the temporary top coat of asphalt is milled, a new coat is put down and the highway is re-striped.
    That is now the only section of three lane highway in the city.
    Safety Service Director Ralph Wise stated "The most important thing for the public to remember is the middle lane is for left turns." he cautioned. "Under no circumstances is it designated as a passing lane."
 

 Storm damages school, hospital in Fostoria

By Jefferson Wolfe (Local Fostoria Man)
Staff Writer for Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune
 
FOSTORIA -- A tornado ripped a northeasterly path through the city late Sunday afternoon, damaging houses in the southwest and touching down on or near the hospital and St. Wendelin High School.
    Officials did not know of any serious injuries, but there was extensive damage to a number of homes in the Jeannette Drive/Vickie Lane/West Tiffin Street area.
    Trees and power lines were down all over town, and there was a gas leak in the 300 block of Summit Street. Numerous buildings in other parts of town also were damaged.
    In the West Tiffin Street area, where the tornado is believed to have formed, two railroad cars were knocked off the tracks and the Tiffin Street rail crossing was blocked. Police and emergency crews had to find other ways into the neighborhood.
    There were trees and other debris scattered all over the streets and yards. Some houses were heavily damaged. Portions of most were still standing. Half of one house was destroyed and the roof was gone.
    Todd Lucius, 210 Jeanette Drive, was sitting on his porch and watched the tornado as it formed. It sounded like a train, he said.
    Lucius saw doors and roofs flying through the air. The tornado went over his neighbor's house.
    "It's like a big whirlwind," he said. "It was crazy. We had no warning, no nothing."
    Television weather reports were calling for thunderstorms, but the most severe were supposed to have been in Defiance and Napoleon, he said.

Fierce storm tears Fostoria
By DENISE GRANT

Findlay Courier Nov.11,2002
 
    Western Fostoria looked like a war zone Sunday night after a fierce storm and a tornado clobbered the town, but the mayor spoke of the city's good fortune -- there were no fatalities or serious injuries reported there. 
    Hancock County was largely spared, although damage was reported to some businesses and homes along Ohio 12 East, and Arcadia was without electricity early today. 
    Extensive damage was reported in Fostoria, but as of 10 p.m. Sunday, Fostoria Mayor John Davoli said no fatalities or serious injuries had been reported at Fostoria Community Hospital. 
    "We've been fortunate so far," Davoli said. "But I am concerned we may find someone in the morning." 
    The storm cut a path in Fostoria from Vickie Lane, where at least three homes were destroyed, northeast across Tiffin Street and along the east side of a city reservoir and park. Damage was heaviest on the west side of Countyline Street. 
    All city personnel were on call Sunday night, with Davoli's office serving as command central. Downtown Fostoria appeared untouched by the storm. 
    The hospital, located at 501 Van Buren St., took a hit as did St. Wendelin High School, 533 N. Countyline St. 
    A chimney on the hospital was blown down, causing damage to the roof of the hospital. There were no injuries, but the hospital was evacuated at about 10:30 p.m., not due to the roof damage but due to a lack of water. The emergency room, powered by generators, remained open late Sunday. 
    The roof at St. Wendelin High School was ripped open by the storm. About 200 volunteers turned out Sunday night to help empty lockers and remove textbooks and teacher supplies from the damaged area. 
    The school will be closed today, as will all of the city's public schools. 
    Fostoria residents are being advised to move about the city carefully today, watching for debris and fallen power lines. Downed power lines should be reported. 
    Residents are also being asked to conserve water. Sunday's storm knocked out both the main and back-up power supply for the city's water treatment plant. 
    Meanwhile, Ohio 12, from Township Road 262 east into Fostoria, was closed to traffic Sunday night. A train derailment on West Tiffin Street in Fostoria stopped all rail traffic into the city, forcing another train to wait along the tracks that cross Ohio 12, blocking the intersection. Crews continued to work to clear the tracks late Sunday. 
    Tina Bryant and her son, Terry, of 816 W. Tiffin St., were witness to Sunday's tornado. They were waiting to cross the tracks in their van just before the train derailed. 
    The Bryants said they saw debris flying and then saw the funnel cloud. The two ran into their mobile home and survived the tornado by holding on to a couch in their living room. The storm ripped the roof off the home and blew out the walls.

STORM RIPS FOSTORIA

FROM R/t Article by Gene Kinn
November 11, 2002
 
    Today Nov. 11, was supposed to have been a Veterans Day holiday for city employees, but virtually all of them have been called in to cope with the damage caused by the tornado that struck the city on Sunday on Nov. 10th.
    Electricity in some sections of the town went down shortly before 5 p.m.Sunday and was still out at 9 a.m. today (Mon.)  American Electric Power Co. officials had expected to have service restored by 3 a.m., later revised that to 6 a.m. and still later to 10 a.m. AEP has since issued a press release stating power to Fostoria is expected to be fully restored by Thursday afternoon.
    As a result of the power outage and numerous water line beaks, the city was without water beginning early this morning.   At 9 a.m. water plant officials were waiting for a large generator being sent here by the city of Fremont.
    Another large generator was being sent over from Mosser Construction Co. in Fremont
    Mayor John Davoli said the water plant is fed from two separate grids, so that when one goes out, the other is still operating.  In this case both grids were out.
    "We might have had enough water in reserve, but in many cases, houses were destroyed or damaged, ripping open the water line and causing the water to gush out," Davoli said today  "Water department employees were going throughout the city, capping lines that were damaged."
    "Ron Faul, our water plant superintendent, began calling major water users early this morning telling them there would be no water until sometime later today.  When the water does come back, residents will need o boil any water used for drinking or cooking.  That boil-water order will be in effect for at least 24 hours after water usage is restored.
    "We had no warning about this tornado, "  Mayor Davoli said.  "Fostoria was not mentioned on any of the weather warnings on TV or radio.  When the tones were finally sent to activate our weather sirens, it was too late.  In fact, just about the time the sirens went off, one was struck by lighting and another was blown from its roof-top mooring.  This thing just came out of nowhere.
    After the tornado hit, a command post was set up at the fire station.
    Diane Lind, secretary to the mayor and safety service director, and her husband Ron, along with City Tax Commissioner Denise Brown, came in to man the phones in the administration office.
    This morning, Brown and the mayor's wife, Lisa, were answering the phones in the mayor--safety service director's office.
    Police, emergency corps members and some private citizens were utilized for traffic control after the traffic lights at many intersections were rendered inoperative.  Many trees and power lines were down in various parts of town, creating additional hazards for motorists.
    This morning, street department workers along with several employees of the cemetery department were out with chain saws, cutting up fallen trees and limbs.   Sewer department workers were going from lift station to lift station, with a portable generator, activating the lift station pumps for brief periods of time.
    At 9 a.m., the mayor was to board a helicopter piloted by police patrolman Scott Miller to survey the damage from the air.  The mayor had earlier talked with Tiffin Mayor Bernie Holman about declaring a state of emergency in Seneca County in order to activate the National Guard for help in clearing debris.
 

 

Cleanup and Assessment of tornado damage continue today 

Nov. 13, 2002
    Initial surveys conducted by the Ohio Emergency Management Agency indicate that eight homes in the city limits of Fostoria were destroyed. Another nine suffered major damage, 34 had minor damage and another 35 or so also were affected.
 
    The tornado that ripped through Fostoria was on the ground for eight to nine miles, skipping as it went, said Dan Stahl, public safety administrator. It was rated as an F-2 on the Fujita scale, meaning winds 113-157 mph.
 
    Of the 91 Fostoria homes that were damaged or destroyed, only five of their owners didn't have insurance.  The majority of the Fostoria homes damaged were in Hancock County, Stahl said
 
    Other problems related to Sunday's storms also are lingering. Fostoria Safety-Service Director Ralph Wise said his city needs two consecutive days of clean water samples taken by the Environmental Protection Agency before the boil advisory is lifted.Results of the samples come in the day after the sample was taken, and the earliest the boil advisory in Fostoria will be lifted is Thursday afternoon, Wise told a group of city and county officials gathered Tuesday evening in the Public Safety Building at the fairgrounds.   
 
    Fostoria's water plant lost power during the storms.
 
    Fostoria Community Schools will be up and running today Nov. 13, two days after tornado of Sunday Nov 10th, with bottled water for drinking and pizza for lunch.
 
    Two Fostoria area businesses along Ohio 12 remained out of operation Tuesday, victims of Sunday's high winds and tornado.
    However, the timetable to recovery is vastly different for the two. One of businesses -- BP Pipelines  North America -(Storaage tanks west on Rt 12) - is set to resume operations once power is restored to it.
    But the other enterprise -- ProSource One fertilizer plant -- faces a longer road to recovery.
Two of the four buildings at ProSource One, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Agriliance LLC of St. Paul, Minn., were destroyed during Sunday's storm, according to Annette Degnan, director of communications for Agriliance.

 

Unusual cornerstone discovered here

Local family finds tombstone in home foundation

From R/t Nov.13, 2002
(By Joel Sensenig)
    Sunday's tornado led a local man to a surprise finding from the 1800's in his West Tiffin Street house on Tuesday.  A tombstone was found in the foundation of the brick house at 840 W. Tiffin St., owned by Christopher Showman.  Due to damage caused by the tornado, Showman's home was determined to be a loss, one of the city's eight destroyed properties.
    As Showman and his family were preparing to salvage what they could from his house, they remembered that the former owner had told them they may be able to find some history of the house by looking at one corner of the foundation.
    The northeast corner of the house contained a stone that was visibly different from the rest.  The Showmans decided this was the perfect time to investigate what was in the corner, expecting to find a time capsule of sorts, possibly some early layouts of the house.
    Instead the found the tombstone of an infant who died in 1852.  The stone appears to read, "Lavinta E./ daughter of H. and E. Britton / died Sept 9, 1852 / age 1 yr. 2 m. and 13 ds."
    Placed face down, an imprint of the tombstone was visible on the stone placed below it in the foundation.
    The family originally thought the house was built in the earlier 1900's, but the stone would seem to suggest the home dates back to pre-Civil War days.  They contacted the Fostoria Area Historical Society, which will be picking up the tombstone.

Countyline St. opens to two-way traffic

    It's been a long time coming , but North County line Street finally opened today Nov. 21, 2002 to two-way traffic.
    For the first time since July, the section of North Countyline Street between the Junction with Perrysburg Road and Jones/Stearns Road bore vehicles traveling both north and south.
    The highway has been widened to include a turn lane, and new curbs, gutters and sidewalks have been added. The roadway will be closed again next spring for a short period while the temporary top coat of asphalt is milled, a new coat is put down and the highway is re-striped.
    That is now the only section of three lane highway in the city.
Safety Service Director Ralph Wise stated "The most important thing for the public to remember is the middle lane is for left turns." he cautioned. "Under no circumstances is it designated as a passing lane."
 
Information courtesy of William Cline