Tornadoes touched down in eight counties in northwestern Pennsylvania yesterday, killing at least 25 persons and injuring more than 200. Twisters in eastern Ohio killed at least nine, and 12 deaths were reported in Ontario, Canada.
"We are looking through the rubble, looking for the dead," Eddie Reddinger, chief of Erie Fire Control, said in Albion, Pa., where state police reported eight dead and 60 injured.
"It's the most devastating scene I've ever seen in my life," Albion firefighter Jim Ticknor said. "The funnel would come down, then lift up and hop to a different area, then it would start all over again. It just leapfrogged through town."
"Whole roofs just exploded," firefighter Fred Kiedaisch said. "There was debris 100 feet in the air -- houses, trees, poles, even outboard motors."
In Cooperstown, six deaths and more than 100 injuries were reported, Franklin County emergency officials said. Police reported one death each in Atlantic and Linesville near the Ohio border, and officials at Meadville City Hospital reported one person dead from the storms, and officials at Greenville Hospital reported two.
Twisters destroyed about half of Cranesville in Erie County, hitting two trailer parks and injuring more than 50 persons, police said. A twister flattened 11 mobile homes and two houses in Cherry Tree in Venango County, injuring an undetermined number of people, officials said.
In Niles, Ohio, near the Pennsylvania border, a tornado cut a path about 200 feet wide and about 3 1/2 miles long, touching down at least three times, Fire Chief Charles Semple said. Five people were killed in a shopping center and one in a convenience store, he said.
The National Weather Service Severe Storm Center in Kansas City, Mo., said the twisters were part of a storm system that pounded other parts of the Great Lakes region with high winds and hail.