Arizona Daily Star from Tucson, Arizona on August 28, 1964 · Page 11
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Arizona Daily Star from Tucson, Arizona · Page 11

Tucson, Arizona
Issue Date:
Friday, August 28, 1964
Page 11
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GOOD MORNING With young couples, first it's billing and cooing and then bills and stewing. Second NEWS SECTION An Independent NEWSpaper Printing The News Impartially VOL. 123 NO. 241 TUCSON. ARIZONA. FRIDAY MORNING. AUGUST 28. 1964 SECTION B - PAGE ONE Tm(db CCoDIs Tw INleeir Covier Mdssdoitd Storm Dips Into Indian Settlement (Continued From Page One) Son A 15-year-old Tucson amateur photographer made this shot of the twister that left two dead and eight injured in the San Xavier area. Gary Gutierrez of 5581 S. Alaska Drive was following the tornado with binoculars when he remembered four exposures left in his camera. He said it started Many Packed Punch Gale Was First To Take Life However, Old Pueblo Has Had Its Share Of Vicious Storms In Past Few Years Tucson has had its share of vicious winds some of tornado strength but until yesterday when a funnel dipped down on San Xavier killing a mother and her baby no loss of life had resulted. According to weather records kept by the Star, tornados have been suspected in a nunr ber of storms that have hit this area in past years. On June 29, 1957, 59 homes were damaged in the Verano Vista subdivision at South 12th and Drexel Rd. when a funnel, described as "a super dust devil," struck during a rain storm. Only eight homes in the subdivision escaped damage. Two hours later a "baby tornado" plus rain and hail battered the Marana area and caused $300,000 damages. Ten homes were damaged, power lines downed and 800 to 1,000 acres of crops destroyed. On July 18, 1957, another freak twister stormed down on the southeast part of town, uprooting trees and toppling a row of telegraph poles in the Southern Pacific railroad yards. Eighteen homes were unroofed and two destroyed in the northwest section of .Tucson March 12, 1958. The storm was concentrated along Ontario and Huron Sts. and along the entire length of Contzen Ave. Frank Casanova, a witness, said the funnel looked like an inverted cone with "all kinds nf debris, sheet metal, garbage and outhouses roaring around the outside" of the funnel. - Storms really ganged up on Tucson during the summer of 1959. The city was thrashed bv winds and heavy rains for four straight days in July. Then, on July 26, a blockbuster of a storm, with near hurricane-force winds and torrential rains bombed the city. More than 1,800 families suffered damaged homes, cars and other property. Damage estimates topped the half million dollar mark. One life was lost because of the winds. A Cleveland, Ohio, trucker was standing beside his huge semi-truck on the Casa Grande Hwy. near Rillito, 15 miles northwest of Tucson, when a terrific gust of wind overturned the truck on him. Damage was light in 1960 but a heavy rain storm on the night nf A us. 72. 11 drowned three Deadly Funnel Strikes Earthward Tucsonans who tried to drive through flooded washes. In July of that year a savage windstorm heavily damaged a half dozen homes in Flecha Caida near River and Swan Rds. Last year damage was again light but four separate storms on Aug. 2 blew down carports, trees and signs. Eight lives were lost and 10 persons injured as the indirect result of high winds this summer 28 miles northwest of Tucson on the Casa Grande Highway. Blinding dust on July 12 forced a car to stop and within 90 seconds eight other cars and four trucks smashed together. Frantic . " nti rap X W w a. fcCw' -"v Armed with P'cks and shovels, rescuers dear the debris away from the Manuel Norris home. C'tose to 200 persons, many of hem who live nearby, assisted in the exempt to reCue members of the family, wh jivej jijjt south of hg mission. Mi. Lucy N o r r i and h 9-monthld ion, as a "little spot high up in the It came down real thin and view is looking southwest from miles distant from the disaster. funnel started at about 4,000 Twister Shatters Convent Sisters Georgeen, Martha and Juanita, left to right, survey the damage to the convent located near San Xavier Mission. The last two were inside the building just before the tornado hit and took refuge in a cellar. After striking the convent and a nearby school, the tornado continued toward a cluster of trees several hundred yards north of the buildings and subsided. Sister Martha described the twister as "very black from top down." Search Through Home's sky at first, then got real big. started spreading out." This Alaska Drive and about four Observers said the tornado's feet altitude. Marcian, were dead on arrival and eight other children in the family were admited at Tucson hospital. At least seven wrg ortilly or entirely buried under he debris. Members f the pim Cou"y Search ad Pescua Unt assisted in fht raseua epilation- (Mark Godfrey phote) Grief lines the face of Manuel Norris. 38, as he is partially carried by rescue workers. The tornado, which took the life of his wife and baby, also buried other members of his family in the debris of their demolished home. Residents of Debris at San Xavier Indian Hospital Helping Hands For Grieving Father Solemn Task Of Cleaning Up Johnny Orosco carries wood from his home after it was nearly destroyed in yesterday's tornado. Father Linus Hohendorf, right, of the San Xavier Mission, gave assistance to victims of the tragedy after first ordering several tourists in the mission to stay in a small room until the storm subsided. One of the tourists later assisted in the rescue operation. Rescuers Hunt For Victims Rescue workers search rubble for victims at San Xavier Mission. The mission m he background was no hrmej elthounh the school and convent several hundred yards o he wt SUfred tubs"il damage. The C'Y of Tucson (S miking plans resO'e nd 'tctnca! lystami to t" bu'ldfji. (Jack Shffr phote) the stricken Indian settlement attended Norris' injured children and one woman, a former nurse, helped several victims while giving instructions to fellow volunteers. Tornadoes are rare in Tucson. (Sheaffer photo by Mark Godfrey) Aft' '.:f fc. Jjtr.rABLM ... jf home, buried alive in about 12 to 16 inches of crushed adobe brick, according to Merrick. The bricks were "big pieces," Merrick said, and it took him and three or four helpers about 20 minutes to free the children. He thinks the sagging mattress may have given them just enough protection to escape whatever force would have been necessary to kill them. Merrick then found the moth er and her infant daughter in the center of one of the northwest rooms, covered by 18 to 20 inches of adobe brick. Mrs. Norris had a faint pulse and little Marcian had none, ac cording to Merrick, but both were pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. William Beaton. 28. of Mo desto, Calif., assisted in the rescue attempt. He said he and his wife had merely stopped off in Tucson during a vacation trip to see the mission, and had been there only five minutes when the tragedy occurred. Women and children, all In tears, were comins toward the Norris residence when he went to assist the rescue volunteers, Beaton said, and he found sev en or eight members of the inoitis tamily buried partially or entirely in mud and brick. "There was a woman an ex-nurse going around giving artificial respiration to one child after another, and directing the rescue efforts," Beaton said. "She was really spectacular." Close to 200 volunteers, many of them residents of the damaged homes helped rescue members of the family. Some of the residents, like Johnny Orosco, 32, barely had escaped with their own lives. Orosco said he was alone in his dining room when he first saw the twister. His six-year-old daughter was lying in a bedroom and the four other children and Mrs. Orosco were outside the house. While one of the older sons took refuge in some bushes, Mrs. Orosco ran toward the home of her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Pancho, and at first tried unsuccessfully to hide two of her childrep beneath a bed. Then all three crouched beside the bed and heard what sounded "like hail," but the house was not damaged. The father, however, had a narrower escape. "The center of the storm had hit the roof of an outhouse about 20 yards south of my home when I told my wife to take some of the kids to her mother's house," Orosco recalled. "f went to a corner nf the bedroom, lay down with two of my children and told them to hold their breath. The whole place was suddenly full of dust and then adobe bricks were falling all over the place." Fortunately, Orosco picked the southeast corner of the house in which to hide. Standing in the middle of the debris and rubble that was once a floor, he described yesterday afternoon how the north wall of the building caved in but missed him and his children by a few feet. Equally fortunate was the family of Mrs. Ralph Lohenia, the first ones hit by the raging twister. Mrs. Lohenia said her daughter and grandson were standing inside the home of her daughter-in-law next door when the tornado blew the roof off the building. The ceiling landed outside the house and both escaped injury. Twelve volunteers from the Tucson Red Cross chapter provided water, sandwiches and coffee for rescue workers. Mrs. Julia Fuller, chapter manager, said the Red Cross provided housing for 12 persons last night and made plans to feed 23. Meals probably will be provided for several days while the organization investigates the building needs of the stricken residents, Mrs. Fuller said. Forty men, women and children made h o m e 1 e s s by the twister were fed and cared for throuch facilities set up in the undamaged parish hall. Some families spent the night in the parish hall, others were bedded down with relatives. Today the task of cleaning up the debris will begin. Meanwhile officials from the Bureau of Indian Affairs will come to San Xavier to assess the damage ?nd plan reconstruction of the homes rehabilitation of tha families.

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