Tornadoes kill 3 and leave trails of destruction in the central US

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Jojo Gargano uses a chainsaw to cut up a tree that fell on a house in Hot Springs Village, Ark., on March 15, after a tornado came through the area overnight. (AP)

LAKEVIEW, Ohio, March 16, (AP): Blaine Schmidt sifted through the broken glass and splintered wood throughout his Ohio home Friday, salvaging a guitar and a bundle of diapers.
His couch and a crib had been ripped apart by one of many tornadoes that tore through the central US, killing three people and injuring dozens more. The storm peeled open his living room wall, but at least the house was standing. The one next door was flattened.
“I’m lucky to be alive,” Schmidt said hours after he and his roommate took shelter in a bathtub, using the shower curtain to protect them from flying window glass.
Thursday night’s storms left trails of destruction across parts of Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Arkansas. About 40 people were injured and dozens of homes were damaged in one Indiana community. Tornadoes were also reported in Illinois and Missouri.
The Indian Lake area in Ohio’s Logan County was one of the hardest hit. Three people died in the county northwest of Columbus, said Sheriff Randy Dodds.
Much of the damage was in the villages of Russells Point and Lakeview, where Schmidt lives. The villages are dotted with cottages owned by people who come for fishing and boating.
Search crews and cadaver dogs didn’t find any more victims Friday after going into neighborhoods that had been blocked by gas leaks and fallen trees overnight, Dodds said.
“When you see this damage, you’ll be surprised it was only three,” the sheriff said.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who assessed the damage and met with residents, said it was fortunate the storm did not hit on a summer weekend.
Sandy Smith took shelter with her family in a laundry room of their Lakeview home after hearing the storm sirens. Seconds later, they heard debris batter the house. Her husband watched the garage blow away.
She went upstairs to rescue their cat who was trapped under a bookshelf. As soon she came back down, the roof collapsed.

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