Kelly Ervin and Jackie Taylor were working at Fast Dog Print Co. in east Columbus when a storm barreled through town on Saturday afternoon.
“We were here printing T-shirts,” Taylor said. “My husband was keeping an eye on the weather because that’s what he does, and he told us we needed to get in a bathroom.”
Ervin and Taylor, who work as graphic designers for The Dispatch, sheltered in Fast Dog Print Co.’s bathroom with Taylor’s husband, Kenneth, and her two daughters, Ashleigh and Abby. As they did, Ervin said, they could hear the infamous freight train sound that’s said to accompany tornadoes.
“I’ve never been in one and I always thought the movie ‘Twister’ was really dramatic and silly,” Ervin said. “It’s just like that. It was so scary.”
The storm left the business with broken windows and water damage, and Ervin said they’d not yet taken a full measure of the damage on Saturday evening. She said the side of her car looked like a rhinoceros hit it. Taylor said some of the rear windows in her husband’s car were blown out during the storm.
“It was kind of intense, but it was over very quickly,” Taylor said. “It was 30 seconds, 45 seconds — a minute, tops. But we stayed put for a bit.”
Ervin said the tornado devastated BJ’s Dog Grooming, across the street, and once the owners returned to retrieve pets from the wreckage, they brought them to Fast Dog Print Co.
“We told them to please bring them in here,” Taylor said. “I was sweeping up glass and getting the floor dry so they could set them down. Some weren’t in kennels, so we cordoned off an area for my daughters to take care of the dogs. I think it helped them, to focus on the dogs and not be so scared.”
The pets have since been moved elsewhere.
“Anywhere we had space, we just had kennels lined up,” Ervin said. “They’ve since gotten them to where they need to go. We had 10 dogs, two cats and a turtle.”
With the storm passed, Ervin said she now realizes the importance of keeping track of severe weather and taking it seriously.
“I always think people make a big deal out of storms,” Ervin said. “I tease people about it and I feel terrible now, because I get it. It’s serious. It’s very serious.”
Taylor said the community rallied together after the tornado.
“Everybody just wanted to help everybody,” Taylor said. “Everybody was bringing in portable lights on stands and plywood and saws. The community really pulled together in making sure everyone was OK.”
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.