By Sean Rice and Lance Mihm
"It's such beautiful destruction," Carol Hone, an East Wayne Street, Celina, resident said as she assessed damage to her property this morning from falling ice-covered limbs.
Luckily, Carol and husband Tom's home was spared of ice damage. As they walked in their neighborhood this morning, they realized not everyone was so lucky.
Two doors down on Wayne Street, a large tree limb broke off under the weight of the ice and smashed out a neighbor's rear car window.
"All night we heard pop, pop, crack, then we watched a transformer blow," said a resident near the intersection of Wayne and Ash streets who asked her name not be used. A limb smashed the back window of her daughter's car and also torn a hole in another neighbor's shed roof.
The woman wandered around her home this morning, looking in awe at the ice covered tree limbs everywhere and downed power lines. "Really this is not funny, but you have to make light of it or you'll go crazy," she said, adding the damage looks like a tornado came through and the snapping limbs sounded like gunshots in the night.
Around the corner, Anthony Street resident Marilyn Gray also was astonished at the damage to her property.
A short ornamental tree by the street split in three even sections and fell to the ground. Behind that, a large tree limb came crashing down, crushing a new white fence. At her back door, a fallen power line blocks her path.
"This was pretty scary, it was crackling all night," said Gray, who is retired. "I hope I never see it again."
All across Mercer and Auglaize counties, the damages piled up.
"I've never seen anything like this," said St. Marys resident Toni Beaner, 111 S. Van St. "There is ice everywhere. We heard a crack in the backyard. When we looked later the neighbors had a tree laying on their house and in the front yard. We were standing by the side door and saw what we think was a transformer blow to the north of us. It looked like the Northern Lights."
Beaner said the power had been off and on at least five times throughout the night, with the longest stretch being about three hours.
Jim Lawler, who lives just a few doors down from the Beaner home, said he heard a loud noise and went outside with a flashlight to find a tree on a power line, leaving the power line hovering only about three feet from the ground.
"We called the police department and let them know," Lawler said. "They said they had to take care of power lines and trees that were in the roadway first."
Lawler said he first noticed the tree on the line at about 2 a.m. this morning. No one had responded yet as of 9 a.m. because of the large amount of cleanup work.
"You could just stand outside and here the cracks everywhere," said Jim Sampson, who lives in the Villa Nova area just outside of St. Marys. "It will take them a while to clean this up."