Saturday, April 10, 1999

At least 7 businesses destroyed


More damaged in Blue Ash

BY MIKE BOYER
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Jerry Schroder, president of Cincinnati Piping Supply Inc. in Blue Ash, was marveling at his good fortune Friday afternoon.

        Cincinnati Piping, a small metal-tubing distributor off Creek Road, sits near the tornado's fault line.

        Although Cincinnati Piping was without power until midafternoon, it was pretty much business as usual, Mr. Schroder said.

        “I've never seen anything like this. We got lucky,” he said.

        Without power, Cincinnati Piping's salesmen kept picking up the phone every few seconds. “We got about 20 or 30 calls that way,” Mr. Schroder said.

        Just 30 feet away, an 80,000-square-foot industrial building owned by Gallenstein Brothers Inc. lay crumpled — its metal roof bent over like a match cover, structural steel twisted like pretzels. Bruce Henry, Blue Ash deputy city manager, said seven commercial buildings along Millington Court, a commercial cul-de-sac, south of Creek Road and west of Interstate 71, were destroyed.

        He estimated another eight buildings in the vicinity had varying damage.

        Wornick Co., a producer of military and humanitarian rations a few blocks away on Ken wood Road, wasn't damaged. Jim Weber, spokesman, said a number of workers couldn't get to the plant Friday, but operations should return to normal today.

        Karen Fanella, a representative of Gallenstein, a Blue Ash commercial developer, said 10 buildings its owns and leases in the industrial area around Creek Road, including the seven on Millington Court, were damaged.

        “The police aren't letting the tenants into the buildings to assess the damage because of the structural damage,” she said.

        Mr. Henry said the city would permit access to buildings this morning on a case-by-case basis.

        But in the case of the seven heavily damaged buildings at the south end of Millington Court, he said, “I don't see how that will be possible.” He said demolition on those buildings would start today.

        The 26,000-square-foot offices of Interlott Technologies Inc., the manufacturer of instant lottery machines, was damaged on Millington Court.

        Interlott provides lottery machines and service to the Ohio Lottery. A spokeswoman said other than some missed service calls, the damage to Interlott's headquarters wasn't causing the lottery any problems.

        Next door to Interlott, the building occupied by Queen City Reproduction and Design, a duplicating service, was leveled.

        Ed Turek, Interlott's vice chairman, rushed down Millington Court Friday afternoon to inspect the damage.

        Blue Ash police barricaded the street, but an officer allowed Mr. Turek to walk around the outside of the building.

        “We don't think we're in too bad shape,” Mr. Turek said. “The back of the building is blown out, and the roof has collapsed into the building.”

        But the front area, where records and computer systems were kept, appeared intact.

        Interlott's manufacturing plant, a few doors north at Creek Road and Millington, escaped serious damage.

        “Come Monday we'll be back in business,” Mr. Turek said.

       



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- At least 7 businesses destroyed
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