Red Cross helps Findlay residents after Sunday's storm

Red Cross helps Findlay residents after Sunday's storm

FINDLAY, OH (WTOL) - Over 100 residents from the Highland Estates community in Findlay and more from surrounding areas were told to evacuate their homes due to a gas leak caused by Sunday's storms.

The American Red Cross set up a shelter at 50 North on East Melrose to take in the residents.

On the street in front of the Highland Estates community, the smell of natural gas was in the air.

Kind souls from Gateway Church rushed over to help set up a temporary shelter just up the road, with food and other comforts.

The Red Cross also set up for trained service animals to stay if needed, and has a separate facility for all other pets nearby.

"Red Cross comes in and they are the ones who do all the intake. What we do is just get the facility ready for them and also food," said Carolyn Copus, Executive Director, 50 North. "So the life group from Gateway has been preparing food for the people that will be coming in and then they helped us rearrange our facility so that we could accommodate the cots that just came in from Red Cross. We'll just be making sure they feel safe and have a shelter over their head and that we can help them out in any way possible."

Findlay Schools will also be closed on Monday due to storm damage.

Gas and power were cut off to the neighborhood to avoid any further trouble.

The city says residents can return to their homes, but without power and gas it may be wise to take advantage of the food and shelter being offered.

In the meantime, police will be patrolling the area and bringing additional support and supplies to the shelter.

"About 130 customers were effected in that particular area, and like I said, the issue was tonight, after the storms, it was very dark and there was a lot of debris," said Cheri Pastula, Communications Manager for Columbia Gas of Ohio. "So, the crews really want to go and make sure the safety of the customer is the most important thing. They want to go out in the daylight and be able to assess the situation. Make sure any of the other mobile homes, perhaps, didn't shift and kind of move. So they want to be able to canvas the entire mobile home park to make sure it is safe before they turn back on the natural gas service."

Karl Gingrich, Red Cross Disaster Workforce Management Team Lead was on site and getting ready for all who would come.

"Everybody can come here. We treat everybody equally and with complete neutrality," said Gingrich.

Gingrich is a Red Cross volunteer for the Ohio Buckeye Region, but he just returned from helping wildfire victims in California.

Thanks to the help of fellow citizens, hardworking recovery crews, and the Red Cross, folks can rest easy tonight, and start to get back to normal on Monday.

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