CRESTLINE - God had to be watching over Susan Cooper and her four-year-old daughter Alyse Monday at 11:30 p.m. when a storm ripped the roof off their Hook Road house and tossed mother and daughter from a bedroom into the backyard, Susan's husband John Cooper said.
Mother and daughter were OK, having been taken to OhioHealth Shelby Hospital and later released, returning to stay at a neighbor's house around 2:30 a.m.
The mattress that mother and daughter were sleeping on was located close to the CSX railroad tracks, John said, standing outside his 5511 Hook Road house early Tuesday morning.
John, too, was bumped in the head by some drywall. He said his daughter had a small cut on her leg. Their son, J.C. III, was not hurt.
John said J.C. was asleep in a front bedroom when the storm hit.
John was in a front room watching TV and quickly went to get his son amid broken glass and then went to look for Susan and Alyse.
"I said, 'Oh no where's your mom and sister?'" he said. "I had heard the big boom and things started falling and crashing. I went to the bedroom and couldn't open the bedroom door and all of a sudden I heard them knocking on the sliding door in the back. We kind of got ourselves together and looked for the dogs and we still have a dog (a boxer) missing. Then we went over to the neighbors," John added. "We have kitties in there somewhere.
"Glass was flying. It was like a sonic boom and the next thing I heard was terrible winds. It lasted all of 35 seconds," he said.
"I was watching football, Georgia Tech vs Tennessee," John said.
The Coopers are math teachers at Pioneer Career & Technology Center. Tuesday was to be Alyse's first day of preschool, the father said.
John Cooper said he is thankful for good neighbors Steve and Nancy Fensch who took his son inside their home to go back to sleep and were assisting the family.
Local officials and members of the Red Cross were on scene. John was on his cellphone with his insurance agency, and said they couldn't get anyone out to his house until Sept.15 because of all the flood damage in Texas.
A CSX employee was on site, as the nearby crossing arm was broken, and the crossing bell dinging loudly.
Also at Cooper's house, Mike Bailey, executive director of the Richland County Emergency Management Agency, said he had no information yet from the National Weather Service about whether the storm was high winds or a tornado but he would receive more information later Tuesday morning.
There was property damage to eight to 10 structures along Hook Road, west of Ohio 314, Bailey said.
"One had a barn completely gone, the others, a chimney was knocked down, roofs missing and the one guy, it picked up and moved his yard barn about 30 to 40 feet, just picked it up and set it down," he said.
Bailey said there were reports of trees and branches down and more throughout Richland County, causing blocked roads and downed wires.
Downed trees partially blocked Hook Road and parts of Ohio 314.
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