Summit County historic church heavily damaged by wind; worship services moved to another church

Published: Apr. 2, 2023 at 10:35 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - It will likely be a long week of cleanup from this weekend’s storms.

This is the second week in a row that severe storms and powerful winds, with gusts of up to 50 miles per hour have left significant damage in their wake.

The Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Cuyahoga Falls suffered devastating damage. Damage that was so severe Palm Sunday services had to be moved to the First Christian Church on Stow Avenue.

One young woman who said her name was Breanna told 19 News, “I can’t believe it, the whole roof is ripped off.”

The Summit County church first built in 1834, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places had the roof ripped off the school, and the roof flipped over and landed in a portion of the sanctuary, literally crashing through the center of the church.

Ian Morris, the Owner of Buckeye Guy’s Roofing out of Akron says he brought out a team to put a tarp on the roof until it can be fully repaired, “What you’re seeing in the middle, that is actually the main surface of the roof - and it’s actually flipped up from straight line winds, and took five-ton air conditioning units with it.”

Morris says his business phone has not stopped ringing and it’s understandable because the powerful storms and wind blew in quickly, “The weather just changed from sunshine to immense gusts of wind and temperatures dropped 15 to 20 degrees, and when those two fronts meet like that it’s insanity.”

As for the Absorbent Mind Montessori School that is housed in the church, Spring Break has been extended for a week until the building is deemed safe again. Breanna’s 4-year-old son attends the school and is sad that he can’t go to school and see his friends this week, “Oh yeah, when I saw the photos I couldn’t believe it. It’s crazy what happened. It’s a great school and I love sending our kids here, so, pretty sad it’s going to be shut down a little bit longer.”

Along with all the storm cleanup that includes downed poles and power lines, there are still communities like thousands in Akron and Kent waiting for the lights to come back on.

First Energy said on Sunday more than 163,000 power customers have had power restored, but some customers in the hardest hit areas of Warren and Youngstown may not have their power restored until 11:00 PM on Tuesday.|

Power crews are working 24/7 to get everyone’s power back on, and have faith they’ll be able to get everyone back in business.