WALBRIDGE, OH (WTOL) - Seven years have passed since a deadly tornado tore through Lake Township, Millbury and Moline.
The EF-4 tornado claimed seven lives and changed hundreds more.
Seven years ago Allan Murphy was a Lieutenant with the Walbridge Fire Department. He says he was just getting home from dinner with his wife to celebrate their 26th wedding anniversary when he heard the sirens.
He rushed out the door to the station, not knowing what he would soon have to face.
"My gut told me this was the real thing and we needed to bunker down for something serious," said Allan Murphy.
Allan quickly dispatched his crews to open shelters for residents. He said that task quickly changed as the tornado came through. They began search and rescue.
"There's a lot of things you can't explain from that night you know," said Murphy. "Finding Bailey Bowman at the administration building. Her father was one of my best friends growing up. I could have stayed there and fell to my knees and mourned, but I had to move on other people may have needed us so we moved on towards the Moline area."
He says crews put in endless hours rescuing community members and cleaning up. He remembers seeing Lake High School seniors, who should have graduated the next day, lined up in solidarity next to what was still standing of their alma mater.
"The gymnasium was collapsed," Murphy said. "All the chairs were crushed, it was all set up for them to receive their diplomas, but we rose above that. We were a stronger community and we pulled together with the help of so many other people, so many other agencies and we rose above it despite the death and devastation."
Seven years later, Allan is retired from the fire department, but says he will never forget those images or sounds. While it's still painful, he knows the community is stronger today.
"The healing process is still going on after seven years you can see it," explained Murphy. "The buildings are all rebuilt, everything is brand new now and to look at it driving through on an automobile you probably would never know it ever happened, but the lives are still touched and the firefighters that were there that night still remember and the families of course they will always remember."
Several used the anniversary Monday as a time to remember and honor the lives of the seven people lost on June 5, 2010.
Allan Murphy says he hopes people will remember to love those around them because in the blink of an eye everything can change.