Enterprise-Journal from McComb, Mississippi on January 13, 1975 · 1
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Enterprise-Journal from McComb, Mississippi · 1

McComb, Mississippi
Issue Date:
Monday, January 13, 1975
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J ' i' f ? :' ? $ I ' zf aim 4mllf HEADLINES i BY OLIVER EMMERICH Strange things happen when nature goes on a rampage. Inconceivable things happen. A McComb lady, attired in her night clothes and lying in bed, suddenly looked up and there was the sky dark above. . . Parked in rear of the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Funder-burk, 808 North St., was a 4,800 pound trailer. The tornado winds blew down a large oak tree and then lifted merich the trailer into the tree top 13 feet above the ground. Mrs. Mildred Power's home on Summit road is one massive pile of rubble without shape or form. Yet, she steadfastly stood behind her bathroom door and when the storm was over she miraculously walked out unhurt. The Jewel Haynies, 902 Burke, have an attic fan in their home. When the tornado struck the fan shaft became a suction tube. Mrs. Haynie was caught in this vacuum pull, then dropped to the floor, breaking her pelvis bone. She's recovering in Baptist Hospital in Jackson. Bill Widman found part of a flower pot driven into the trunk of one of his massive oak trees, And at Southwest Shopping Mall a piece of plywood was driven through a two brick layer wall. A piece of timber is sticking up from the roof of the new First Baptist Church sanctuary. Mrs. B.F. Flanagin of Summit was at Winn Dixie. The manager of the store looked out and said, "This looks like a tornado." She replied, "It b and I'm gone." Three blocks awajfthe glass in her car blew out but she missed the big crash when the store came down. Mr. and Mrs. Ronnie Wilkinson of Stokes avenue left their home. Ten minutes later the home was destroyed. There was so many instances such as this when minutes could have been the difference between life and death. Tommy Butler who lives about two miles southeast of Summit found a new pair of shoes in a tree. The Rose's Department Store label was still attached and five miles away from the store. Perhaps the person who was flying highest in the storm was a truck driver. At least a truck seat was seen in top of a 40-foot tree in Burglundtown . Perhaps the most expsperated person at the time of the tornado strike was Dr. Frank Weinberg. The peak moment of fear and excitement caught him in the bathtub, soaped and wet. Mrs. H.D. Huddleston who suffered a broken foot in the storm was taken out of her home by neighbors who used a door from the badly damaged home as an improvised stretcher. One of the miracles of the storm was the fact that Otken School, with an enrollment of about 300, was torn apart and yet no child was seriously injured. The youngsters were trained to hug the Southwest wall. One teacher, Mrs. Patricia Smith, the heroine she proved to be, was huddling some children and while doing so suffered a head injury from flying debris. By the same token tragedy was avoided in the North Pike Elemental v School because this school also carried out previous instructions as to what to do in case of a tornado emergency. The plan was carried out under the direction of Arsene Dick, civilian Civil Defense, aided by Mrs. Anne Hale of the P-TA. Without these emergency drills tragedy likely would have widened to large proportions. This is another hero and heroine story. Likewise Lonnie Ray was in a school bus headed for Westbrook school. There were several children in the bus. He recognized the emergency, ordered the bus to be headed inio the wind and had the children lie flat on the floor of the (Continued on Page 2) Km 10c PER COPY McComb eder r-s ' -a Vvi r .-c. Vv- &51r- Jtf? t - f ' - Sr , - J2 H - -'t " i-Of rv iy' DEVASTATION AT SOUTHWEST MALL SHOWS IMPACT OF STORM FORCE This site marks the hardest hit business area in McComb Local Utilities Being Restored; Water O.K. Electrical service had been restored to most customers who were able to receive service by today as crews worked at a fantastic pace over the weekend to restore storm-interrupted service. Both Bert Cantrell, division manager of Mississippi Power and Light Co., and Lamar Stokes of the Magnolia Electric Power Assn., reported this morning that only scattered service remained to be restored, at least on a temporary basis. Cantrell pointed out, however, persons who are without service and who are State Hit by JACKSON, Miss. (AP)-Travelers advisories were out across northern Mississippi last night as sub-freezing temperatures caused icing on bridges and overpasses. Snow, ice and chilling rain plagued motorists Sunday and a spokesman for the Mississippi Highway Patrol at Batesville said that U.S." 61 north of Clarksdale and Interstate 55 north of Senatobia were "virtually solid sheets of ice" Sunday afternoon. One traffic death occurred which authorities said might be at least partially attributed to the storm. Authorities said that Dempsie Morrison, about 60, of Memphis, was killed when The One Newspaper in ihe World Most Interested in this Area McCOMB, MISS. MONDAY. JANUARY 13, 1975 Disaster Designation able to receive it should contact the power company. Hershal Grady, local manager of South Central Bell, said "we've got about 2,000 telephones still out" and he said "we hope to have all of them working by the end of the week. We do have an emergency telephone system at Southwest Mall with eight -coin-operated telephones." The telephone company reported Saturday morning that customers whose service was interrupted as a result of the tornado w'll not be charged for the time they are without telephone service. Freeze two cars collided on an icy stretch of U.S. 72 near Mount Pleasant Sunday afternoon. The National Weather Service said Sunday evening that the moisture had stopped falling in most of the state and no new accumulations were expected. The highway patrol also said that road conditions had improved in most areas. Points in extreme northern parts of the state reported one to two inches of snow on the ground at 6 p.m. Sunday. Other areas across the Southeast reported greater snow depths and a tornado caused at one death in Panama Citv, Fla. 3 2 .'. . y .'aH"-.' Photo by Tim Kavanay Grady said, "We are now identifying these customers and it won't be necessary for those affected to ask for credit. It will be given automatically and applied to a later bill." Grady also expressed his appreciation for the cooperation and understanding of McComb area customers while service is being restored. At one time about 5,000 telephones were said to be out. Both Cantrell and Stokes said they had no preliminary estimates of monetary damage. "We haven't even tried to assess a dollar value," said Cantrell. "It'll probably be a week before we do." Stokes said the Magnolia EPA had damage from Gillsburg to Monticello. All but 20 or 25 customers had thought to be restored this morning. MP&L, which had about 3,000 customers out at one time, had 110 workers from out of the area working in McComb over the weekend with some 40 local crewmen. Magnolia EPA brought in about 50 extra crewmen to build its force up to 100, according to Stokes. Cantrell and others thanked the Salvation Army, Red Cross, National Guard and others for the service they rendered in assisting utility crews. McComb City officials announced Sunday that city water pressure, affected by busted mains, had been restored and the water was safe to drink. dDnmrnnaQl. 85TH YEAR-NO. 188 By CHARLES DL NAGIN Enterprise-Journal Staff Writer City officials sought today to have McComb declared a disaster area in the wake of a devastating tornado which cut a path two blocks wide and 38 blocks long, diagonally across town. The storm's path, which actually began somewhere around Percy Quin State Park, where extensive damage was reported, roared into the southwest part of town and left through the northeast section. From there it raked North Pike Elementary School and blew its way through rural areas to Highway 84. In all, the path in this part of the state was believed to be about 30 miles long. Eight persons in Pike and Lincoln counties were left dead as a result of the storm, and hundreds were injured. Officials said it was a miracle no more people were killed, judging from the property damage to businesses and two elementary schools, Otken and North Pike. The timing of the storm in McComb between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m. probably attributed to the relatively low toll of severe casualties. School had already taken in, and the teachers and school officials acted promptly to put children into tornado drills. The stores in the shopping center had not opened, and while workers were in most of the businesses, the crowds had not yet arrived. Three of the deaths in McComb occurred, in the Community Parks Apartments area in Burglund. They included Dorsey Cameron, 56, Charles Weatherspoon, 25, and Dexter Baker, 20-months. Dale G. Russell, 45, was killed when his vehicle was blown off Interstate 55. Killed in Lincoln County were Herbert A. Savell, 86, Mrs. Gilbert (Willie) Lawrence, 22, her 19-month-old daughter, Stacy Lawrence, and B.L. Greer, 62, who died Friday night of injuries. McComb Mayor John S. Thompson said this morning "I just talked to Sen. John Stennis and he is making all efforts to get to the President and get this area declared a disaster area. City Atty. W.A. Seek Salvation Army, Red Cross Offering Aid The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Pike County Civil Defense, local police and numerous other agencies swung into immediate action when the storm hit Friday, and they're still busy today. Lt. Jerry Sorrow of the Salvation Army said "we plan to keep our mobile canteens in here today and tomorrow to assist clean-up and repair crews." Persons who were made homeless by the storm were invited to apply for clothing, furniture and house rent at the Salvation Army headquarters on Railroad boulevard. Carl Ray, disaster chairman for the Pike County Red Cross, said headquarters were being moved today from Higgins School to Liguori Hall. He also invited people without homes to apply for groceries, clothing and rental assistance. The Salvation Army and the Red Cross cooperated in providing shelter for some 35 refugees at Higgins Friday and Saturday nights. Both agencies said they planned to continue to do whatever is necessary. Tornado victims from the Community Park Apartment area are being helped by the Red Cross from a distribution point at Flowery Mount Baptist Church at 906 Summit St. in McComb. Victims Given Advice AdvL-e for persons who suffered damage to property in Friday's tornado was offered today from the Insurance Information Institute in Dallas, Tex. According to Hal Mitchell, assistant regional manager for the institute, the insurance industry recommends local property owners continue making temporary repairs to prevent further damage from wind or rain. They should also have notified their insurance agent where they can be reached if they have moved to temporary living quarters, Mitchell noted. "To speed up insurance settlement, they should have ready for the adjuster an inventory of damaged personal property," he said. Mitchell warned property owners getting homes repaired to take care to deal "only with reputable contractors." Additional insurance adjusters have already moved into McComb to speed up processing of claims, he added. Cold Fair through tomorrow. Cold today and tonight, becoming a little warmer tomorrow. High today in the mid 30s with the low tonight near 20. High tomorrow in the upper 40s. Winds will be northerly at seven to 14 miles per hour, diminishing to near calm tonight. Wiltshire is attempting to contact Sen. James O. Eastland with the same request." Thompson explained that it was necessary to get the disaster designation in order to get federal agencies in McComb to assist with the rebuilding efforts. Estimates of property damage have ranged up to $50 million in the area. Some 84 homes were totally destroyed, 99 had major damage, 91 others had lesser damages and 30 or more businesses were destroyed. There also was considerable personal property damage including many automobiles damaged or destroyed. Everyone and every agency which participated in the tornado relief and disaster chores were praised for the jobs they did. Jim Sharp, training information and educational officer for the State Civil Defense, commended the efforts here and said they were as smooth as any he had ever seen. Communications and other relief efforts were channeled through the Pike Civil Defense Headquarters where Mr. and Mrs. Arsene Dick worked for about three days almost around the clock. Numerous civil defense and civil air patrol groups from surrounding areas in Mississippi and Louisiana came to help, as did police, National Guardsmen, state officials and others from within and without the area. One group, the Stone County Civil Air Patrol, even went around charging up home freezers with a portable generator. Jewel D. Conerly, chairman of the City Board's police committee, said that while the National Guard sentries had been removed by today, 25 jeeps with two men to the jeep are remaining to assist with patrols through Wednesday. Police and Highway Patrolmen, along with other officers, are pulling extra duty to patrol the affected areas. Officials warned they would tolerate no looting, and there had been little, if any, reported by today. Volunteer services were almost too numerous to mention. They ranged from free donations of bread by bakeries to free service by some forestry groups. Persons having clothing, toys, canned foods and any household items are asked to bring them to the church where they will be distributed to these families. MFC May Have Been Defrauded NEW ORLEANS (AP)-The Times-Picayune reported today that members of the Mississippi Federated Cooperative (MFC Services) may have been defrauded of sales of $500,000 in high protein chicken meal produced at its plant in Collins, Miss. In a dispatch from its Jackson, Miss., bureau, the newspaper quoted Dist. Atty. R. K. Houston Jr. as saying that a Covington County grand jury was scheduled to look into the matter today. The meal sells for up to $400 a ton and one truckload is valued at between $6,000 and $8,000. Members of MFC are entitled to buy products made at the coop's plants and are supposed to share in proceeds. J

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