June 12th, 1942 Oklahoma City

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  1. David Hodges

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    THIRTY-ONE KILLED WHEN TORNADO STRIKES OKLAHOMA CITY.

    TWISTER STRIKES INTO SOUTHWEST CORNER OF CITY.

    LAYS WASTE AREA TWO BLOCKS SQUARE; MANY CRITICALLY INJURED; RELIEF AGENCIES AND ARMY RUSH RESCUE, AID FORCES TO SCENE.

    Oklahoma City, June 13. -- (AP) -- Red Cross and other relief agencies cared today for 250 homeless victims of a tornado that killed 21 persons in a residential district here and roared off "whistling like 10,000 devils."
    That description came from Private G. J. PRINCE of Will Rogers air field who saw the funnel dip down last night out of a stormy sky, life a huge truck and lay it down near him in a ditch where he had taken refuge.
    The army sent soldiers from the air base who toiled through the night bringing dead and injured from the debris, then stayed on tirelessly through the day to help tend the survivors.
    An area two blocks square in the southwest corner of the city was scoured bare of houses and only a few trees, limbs and leaves wrenched away by the wind, still stood.
    Man Whistles Alarm.
    Survivors told of a blast of hot wind that preceded the blow, of a half-dressed man who had seen the funnel bearing down and ran through the streets, sounding a police whistle to give the alarm. But there were not enough storm cellars, and many of the dead and the 25 critically injured were caught in their automobiles as they tried to escape the storm's wrath.
    A group of soldiers, taking refuge in a ditch, had a ringside seat to disaster.
    By the brilliant flashes of lightning they said they saw homes picked up and torn apart, trees snapped like matches, cars hurled into the air.
    Barren Waste Left.
    When what had been a residential district a few minutes before was a barren waste in the frightening play, swept clean in some instances even of the foundations on which the houses stood.
    The hush that always falls immediately after such storms was broken by the cries of injured, and the soldiers came from the ditches to go into action.
    State police, city police, and the Red Cross were on the scene quickly and all through the night volunteers and the disaster relief professionals poked side by side through the ruins of homes and buildings.
    Red Cross To Scene.
    A school outside of the storm's path was turned into an emergency shelter and here the Red Cross set up cots and passed out food. The army put an emergency field dressing station on the scene.
    Police lit gas flares to guide the rescuers until the army could bring up flood lights. Every available ambulance was pressed into service, and the line of bodies leghthened in the funeral parlors.
    Scores of residents who had been only cut and bruised were treated at hospitals and dismissed to make room for the more seriously injured.
    Little To Salvage.
    In its vortex, the tornado sucked up whole houses with their furniture and scattered them no one knew where.
    Soldiers scouted the country for miles around but found little that could be salvaged.
    A man who felt the awful suction and lived to tell about it was T. NELSON, who with his wife saw the black funnel approach and just made it under a culvert.
    "The suction was terrible," he said. "I grabbed my wife by the ankles and tried to hold her as the wind whipped through the culvert, but she was torn from my grasp and pulled into the open. She was badly cut."
    Soldiers Rush To Aid.
    Col. EARL E. DEFORD of Will Rogers base took command of 400 soldiers who piled into 30 army trucks, ambulances and civilian buses and rushed to the scene when advised of the news. With them went wrecking trucks and other army emergency equipment.
    In the debris somewhere, they found later, was the body of Corporal ERNEST MONTGOMERY of Swiss, Mo. Three other base soldiers who happened to be in the area were injured slightly.
    Soldiers Showed Courage.
    Base headquarters told of heroism and hard work among the soldier rescuers of Sergeant ROY K. SNELL of Salt Lake City who dared flying debris and falling branches to administer first aid to a stricken truck driver with compound fractures of both legs.
    Mess Sergeant TONI BOBOLA, Nanticoke, Pa., who had finished a day's work, stayed on for 12 more hours to serve coffee and sandwiches to rescue crews.
    Pvt. FRANCIS BLOOM, military truck driver from St. Joseph, Mo., narrowly escaped injury from falling debris as he searched the wreckage with other soldiers.
    It was a hot sultry night, a might for tornadoes, out of which flashed the disastrous wind.
    More than an hour before it struck, another twister dropped down in the Lake Overholster area, several miles farther west, ripped out small oak trees but lifted before doing any great amount of damage.
    This twister broke up a political meeting at a rural school, where some of the persons who had gathered there wrenched the lock from the door of the school storm cellar and found safety inside. The building was not damaged.

    TORNADO CASUALTIES
    Oklahoma City, June 13. -- (AP) -- A list of those killed in the tornado here Friday night:
    MRS. RUTH CABLE, 29.
    DONALD R. CABLE, 8.
    DAVID CABLE, about 12.
    EZRA ASHLEY HAYES, 46.
    MRS. EZRA A. HAYES.
    BONIE OPAL HAYES, 15.
    ALENE L. HAYES, 18.
    RALPH HAYES, 11.
    HOWARD ASHLEY HAYES, 12.
    CHARLES BYRD.
    ALMA KOSZARA, 22.
    MRS. EDNA COX, 67.
    IRA F. COPLEY, about 68.
    HAZEL TINSLEY, 13.
    MRS. JOSEPHINE CLARK, 70.
    MRS. CARRIE MAE HOFFMAN.
    RILEY J. HOFFMAN, 6.
    RUTH INEZ HOFFMAN, about 4.
    ELMER EUGENE HOFFMAN, about 12.
    HODRA HOFFMAN, 15.
    J. C. CLARK, 75.
    JOHN L. COX, 45.
    INEZ TROUT, about 50.
    MRS. IVA LUCILLE HOUCK, about 35.
    THOMAS ALBERT CLARK, about 41.
    IRENE RICH, about 12.
    BILLY PITTS, about 10, visiting here from Arkansas (address unknown).
    FRANK E. WILSON, 56.
    Unidentified Girl, about 14 years old.
    Unidentified Girl, about one year old.
    Unidentified soldier.
    Oklahoma City, June 13. -- (AP) -- A partial list of the most seriously injured in last night's tornado, all Oklahoma City residents unless otherwise designated, follows:
    MRS. THELMA TAYLOR.
    MRS. ANNA BYRD.
    DELORIS BYRD.
    JOAN BYRD.
    CHARLENE BYRD.
    MARY BYRD.
    HAROLD MILLER.
    WALLACE TAYLOR.
    ROBERT E. McCARTER.
    FRANK HIGGINS.
    LEE TROUT.
    MRS. ADA DRAKE, Moore, Okla.
    NOAH VAN HOOBE.
    NAOMI NELSON.

    The Ada Evening News Oklahoma 1942-06-14

     
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