Eight months later, family remembers Chesterfield man killed in tornado

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — It’s been 8 months since the remnants of Hurricane Florence brought 11 deadly tornadoes to Central Virginia.

The family of Ronnie Bishop, the Chesterfield man who was killed at the Old Dominion Floor Company on September 17, 2018, hopes what happened to him can help save other people’s lives when severe weather hits. 

“We lost a lot that day. A lot. Not just Ronnie. Our best friend. A great, goodhearted guy. My husband,” said Gina Bishop, Ronnie’s wife. 

She was at work on September 17 when tornadoes warnings started coming out. 

“I heard how it was close to my house, so I really paid attention,” said Gina Bishop. “Then it went over my dad’s house, and I said ‘wow, that’s close to my dad’.  And then the newsman said the tornado hit the Old Dominion Floor on Speeks Drive…one dead, one trapped. So I immediately called Ronnie’s phone. Got no answer. But I still had that hope that he was the trapped one and he’d be alright.”

Ronnie Bishop was in the warehouse at Old Dominion Floor when the tornado hit. He was killed. 

“It wasn’t until I got here that I realized that he wasn’t the trapped one,” Ronnie’s wife Gina says.

Ronnie’s nephew Doug Bishop is a firefighter with Chesterfield County and was on duty that afternoon. His crew responded to the damage at the nearby Gabe’s department store and Planet Fitness. 

“It wasn’t until about 30 minutes into the incident that it really clicked that, oh, that was the Old Dominion Floor building. Ronnie works there,” said Doug Bishop. 

There was another man in the warehouse with Ronnie, who explained to Ronnie’s family what happened that day. 

“His name is Steven. They were in the warehouse just talking business. And the roof started to peel off,” Gina Bishop told us. “And this is straight from Steven. And he said the roof just started to peel off and they just ran. And I’m not sure how it all went down, but Ronnie was the last one to run through.”

Steven was hit with cinder blocks and seriously hurt. 

“Uncle Ronnie’s story is proof that it will happen, and it can happen to you,” said Doug Bishop. 

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