Insurance adjusters review damage from freak Bazetta-Cortland tornado

Staff report


Insurance adjusters were all over the township assessing damage Wednesday after a freak EF1 January tornado skipped across the township and into Cortland on Tuesday morning.

Fire Chief Dennis Lewis said officials closed the township’s Hillside Cemetery on West Main Street until further notice while insurance adjusters view a destroyed storage building and knocked-over headstones.

The National Weather Service estimated winds were at or near 100 mph.

Kris Parke, township road superintendent, said 36 headstones and 60 trees were knocked over.

The township’s insurance has “some allowances” to pay for putting headstones back in place, but more serious damage may not be covered, Parke said.

On the other side of Mosquito Lake, about seven large pine trees fell on Everett Hull Road near the Trumbull County fairgrounds, blocking the road, which serves Lakeshore and Westlake drives.

The county engineer’s office spent two to three hours clearing the trees so Ohio Edison crews could get in to repair downed power lines, Lewis said.

School buses were able to get down the street about 2:30 p.m, and Ohio Edison had power restored by about 5 p.m.

Getting power restored was important because homes in the low-lying neighborhood might have flooded without electricity.

Lewis said the tornado moved in a fairly straight line, but veered south of the fairgrounds on its way to the Lakeshore neighborhood and weaved again before entering Cortland.

Lewis said it is the only tornado Bazetta has had since he joined the department in 1983.

Cortland fire Chief David Rea said the tornado passed right over the fire department while he was sitting in his office.

“It shook the fire station and got real loud,” he said. “It sounded like a train over the fire station.”