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Tornado1 - Wake Of Killer Tornado: Fears Of Looters...
Wake Of Killer Tornado: Fears Of Looters WICHITA FALLS, Texas (UPli — A shotgun in his lap, Randolph Duke sils and waits. .He has survived a killer tornado, seen his home reduced to rubble. Now he fears looters lurking in the darkened streets, waiting to steal the last of his worldly goods. Ken Gulley's lire dealership at the edge of the tornado- ravaged area was not 'ouched, but he p&ces inside with a 9-shol revolver in his belt. For Duke, Gulley and hundreds of others, the horror of ar. Kaster week tornado did not end when the deadly funnel cloud moved back into the clouds after killing scores and injuring hundreds more. !n tornado-ravaged areas, people sleep in their cars, makeshift lean-tos and demolished rooms of roofless homes rather than risk the chance that their few remain- ing possessions will be taken by looters. Even those whose homes and businesses were untouched by the massive funnel cloud are worried. "They've had information that professional looters were coming in from out of town," said one of the National Guardsmen patrolling the darkened, cordoned-off area Thursday night. "It has caused some of the people whose shops weren't even damaged to remain in them tonight.'' A dusk-lo-dawn curfew was in effect through Thursday night, but some (eared no authorities were available to stop looters. "We are providing plenty of security, but you can't convince these people of thai," said Mayor Kenneth Hill. While looters worried many survivors, others prepared today to attend the first of dozens of funerals for those killed at sunset Tuesday when a massive tornado swept through the southern part of the city. The storm that spawned the deadly twister sliced through other communities along the Texas-Oklahoma border, killing at least 58 people, injuring more than 600 and causing upwards of $300 million in damage. While 44 bodies have been recovered in Wichita Falls, officials fear still more victims could be buried beneath debris littering the southwest third of the city. The storm also took the lives of 11 people in nearby Vernon and Harrold. Texas, while three others were killed 60 miles away in Lawton, Okla. Hill said as many as 8,000 Wichita Falls residents were displaced in the storm. In the capital, Gov. Bill Clements appealed for donations of food, kitchen utensils and other necessities to help the victims. "The devastation is hard to understand without seeing it," he said. "When you see 1,000 homes devastated and the ground as smooth as the top of a table, 1 can't think of anything these people wouldn't appreciate." President Carter issued a disaster declaration Thursday for the Red River Valley area, and state officials said the mammoth storm likely will become the state's most severe tornado in terms of dollars. But Randolph Duke and his neighbors aren't thinking about dollars. They are worried about their homes. "Wednesday night the police came by and told me the Guard was walking the streets, patrolling the whole area. My neighbor thought that was all right and he left," Duke said. "Then sometime last night somebody came and took his boat trailer." Although only a few walls of his home still stand. Duke said he would stay as long as necessary to protect it. Gulley, whose Goodyear shop was untouched by the massive funnel cloud that hammered through his area of town, said he was armed because he feared robbers, knowing lawmen were busy elsewhere. He even wears his gun while pumping gas for customers taking advantage of his generator-fueled gas pumps. "I walked around with a 9- shot revolver in my belt where everybody could see it," he said. "I wanted them to know if someone was going to think about robbing us, it would be hard. I'd imagined 1 would just shoot them if they tried, unless they shot me first."

Clipped from
  1. Logansport Pharos-Tribune,
  2. 13 Apr 1979, Fri,
  3. Page 16

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