Two dead after Central Ohio barn collapse

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Editor’s Note: Please send any pictures or updates on the storm damage to ckick@farmanddairy.com.

JOHNSTOWN, Ohio — Two Central Ohio men are dead after a poultry barn where they were working collapsed on them Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 4.

Joseph Dixon, 33, of Newark, and Kevin Maddox, 25, of Columbus, were both working on a renovation project at an Ohio Fresh Eggs location near Johnstown, when strong winds caused severe damage to multiple barns.

Officials say as many as 15 workers initially were trapped in the building, with all but the two making it out, mostly unharmed.

People first

“Our top priority is the families of the (deceased) workers and all the farm workers,” said the farm’s spokesperson, Hinda Mitchell, just hours after the accident.

About a dozen fire departments responded to the scene, as well as specialists with Central Ohio Strike Team — a regional group of rescue personnel specially trained to handle large-scale catastrophes.

Fire Chief Dudley Wright, of the Monroe Township Fire Department, said the two men had died before officials were able to reach them. The roof in the barn where they were working collapsed, essentially causing a “pancake” effect.

Madison Township Fire Department Capt. Larry Thomas said the Strike Team “has equipment standing by and ready to go for incidences like yesterday.”

Other area departments assisted the strike team, he said, in making their jobs easier and supplying their needs.

Tough times

The same company suffered a severe fire in March, at its location in Wyandot County. More than 100 firefighters responded to that incident.

Severe weather

The Wilmington office of the National Weather Service reports that “an extremely unstable airmass developed on the afternoon of August 4, with temperatures in the low to mid 90s and dewpoints in the mid to upper 70s.”

This airmass set the stage for very strong thunderstorms during the afternoon, which produced widespread wind damage across western and central Ohio, the worst damage occurring in Licking County.

A second round of severe thunderstorms swept through Indiana and Ohio during the evening hours, resulting in several reports of wind damage across eastern Indiana, the Miami Valley and parts of central Ohio.

This and more storm photos available at National Weather Service, Wilmington, Ohio office.

About the Author

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties. More Stories by Chris Kick

3 Comments

  1. chris says:

    roof collapse and structural failures dont need to happen. There are many, many devices available that can alert people before a roof falls in. Insurance companies are begining to re-examine the risks associated with aging infra structure and buildings constructed to now out of date building codes.

  2. Ray says:

    The National Weather Services estimate of wind speed based on the damage done to structures has a major flaw in their methodology. Two identical looking buildings could exhibit a considerably different level of damage because of slight differences in how the were constructed.
    Things like omitting the hurricane ties or using the wrong type of nails can make a huge difference in how a building performs under the same wind loading.
    Pole Barns are notorious for not meeting the wind load requirements of the building code.

  3. pole barns says:

    Chris is right, they were not prepared.

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