Austin American-Statesman from Austin, Texas on March 28, 1994 · 6
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Austin American-Statesman from Austin, Texas · 6

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Austin, Texas
Issue Date:
Monday, March 28, 1994
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6
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AG Austin American-Statesman Monday, March 28, 1994 This section is recyclable Palm Sunday play turns from song to tornado horror ' ' : 1 New York Times News Service PIEDMONT, Ala. The children of the congregation were in the middle of a Palm Sunday play when a tornado ripped into their small church in northeastern Alabama, wrenching the roof apart and toppling a wall onto the children. "It is the most horrible thing I've ever seen," said Leon Smith, one of more than 100 rescue workers who responded to the calls for help after the tornado hit the Goshen Methodist Church about 11:30 a.m. Nineteen worshipers, among them six children, were killed and at least 90 were injured. The cinder block and brick church, set in the midst of farmlands and pine forests, was more crowded than usual because it was Palm Sunday, with about 140 people participating in the special program. When the tornado hit, the children were gathered in a corner for their play, Watch the Lamb, and were singing a song called Jehova Jireh on the church stage. The lights had been flickering because of winds, but the children kept singing and the service continued, said Christa Rhinehart, 16, who was sitting in a pew beside her mother. The blue and violet stained-glass windows blew to shards, and the roof pulled apart. Pieces of it rained down on the congregation and then a wall near the children collapsed. "People were trapped under the pews," Rhinehart said. "I screamed for my momma. She found me." The nursery, where the children too young to take part in the play were staying, was undamaged. "It happened so quickly, I don't think those people could have even gotten out of the church," said Piedmont Police Chief Michael Richards. I Carol Scroggin, who was standing near the altar, doesn't know how she survived. "I think the altar saved me," she said. "I don't know if I was knocked down. I don't know if I got hurt. I was in a crawl space, and I crawled out." ,' Goshen Valley is a country church of mostly working people, perched off a two-lane road in the picturesque farmland of Cherokee County. People either work the land, punch a clock at the local textile mills or drive across the state line into Georgia to earn a living. The stretch of east Alabama from Piedmont south to Talladega is known as "Tornado Alley" for the regular spring barrage of twisters. Many people have dug storm pits in their backyards. . A hundred years ago, a tornado hit Goshen Valley and killed 40 to 50 people, according to Rick Freeman, a local rescue official. Rescue officials said one of the juveniles killed Sunday at the church was 2. A Marine and his wife were killed, along with one of their children. The couple's four other children survived and were placed in foster care. Piedmont police Officer Mike Nessler arrived at the church one BOIID'S SINCE 1934 7&MUm gtectwtfc INC. SALES A SERVICE A RENTAL Beginning Saturday, March 26, we will be publishing a weekly church directory in the Lifestyle section. Advertising Deadline: Tuesdays at Noon For listing information call 445-3542 To Your Door Window Decor iuliii riitnm A Price You Wlndo aii Bobby SL Pierre Ownfr i n r Pill ti Formerly i Mr. Mimblind 0 -Villi ifiiiilifiii4 iK'iikW' Church I I I collapse g- I! Piedmont w ALABAMA o co I c co . o w to Montgomery O (65) ) ... Jfit FLORIDA , . ) Gulf of 100 miles Mexico AP Worst tornadoes Worst tornadoes since 1925 in the United States: March 18, 1925: Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, (The Great Instate Outbreak); 689 killed, 1,980 injured. March 21, 1932: Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee; 268 killed, 1,874 hurt. April 5-6, 1936: Tupelo, Miss., Gainesville, Ga. (The Tupelo-Gainesville Outbreak); 658 killed, more than 1,600 hurt. June 23, 1944: Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland; 150 killed. B April 9, 1947: Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas; 169 killed. March 21-22, 1952: Arkansas, Missouri, Tenn.; 208 dead, 1,154 injured. June 8, 1953: Michigan, Ohio; 142 killed. April 11-12, 1965: Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois (The Palm Sunday Outbreak); 271 dead, 1,600 hurt. April 3-4, 1974: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia (The Super Outbreak 148 tornadoes reported); 350 dead. March 28, 1984: North and South Carolina; 24 tornadoes; 67 killed, more than 800 injured. May 31, 1985: Ohio, Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada; 90 people killed; more than 700 injured. November 15-16, 1989: Alabama, New York, New Jersey, Illinois; 27 dead; hundreds injured. August 28, 1990: Illinois, dead; 350 injured; 1,000 homes destroyed. April 26, 1991: Kansas and Oklahoma; 29 people killed; more than 200 injured; more than 700 homes destroyed. November 23, 1992: North Carolina, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia; 48 people killed; hundreds injured in 12 states. The Associated Press minute after the tornado struck. "They didn't know what hit them," Nessler said. "I kept getting asked, 'What happened? What happened?' " fan S3 SERVICE CO., NC. UcnMTACUO0?WlC $smsm mmm Verticals Woodblinds Miniblinds Draperies Shades Shutters Toppers and More Fashions At Can Afford r$5o off On any purchase of '500 or more. - ..... 4 r, , - I i r',1w,. Y:;, r ' fl, up L2 wny'- ,s - a-f i, ml, m . , .,.1 . ' ; - -fly, n-r ..a - - ...,,, : AP The roof of the Goshen Methodist Church in Piedmont, Ala., collapsed during a tornado Sunday as worshipers were having Palm Sunday services. Tornado Continued from A1 19th died at a hospital. About six miles away, the Union Grove Methodist Church was demolished by a tornado during services, but its 75 worshipers took shelter in the basement and escaped injury, said Piedmont Mayor Vera Stewart. A tornado also heavily damaged the Ten Island Baptist Church, about 30 miles west of Piedmont, and injured an undetermined number of people, Calhoun County sheriffs dispatcher Leon Hill said. The tornadoes were part of an intense spring storm system that began with moist, unstable air off the Gulf of Mexico early Sunday. The air was pushed northeast by the jet stream and clashed with low pressure along a cold front. Fifteenpeople were killed in Georgia. Barbara Turner said a tornado demolished her Pickens County home and killed six people in the mobile home next door, leaving their bodies strewn over a half-mile. Elsewhere in Alabama, tornadoes killed one person at a park and another in his car. In eastern Tennessee, a hiker in the Great Smoky Mountains drowned in a rain-swollen creek during an afternoon deluge. In Charlotte, N.C., a man standing in front of his home was struck and killed by lightning, said police spokeswoman Kim Buchanan. Another wave of violent storms pounded the region Sunday night. Police in Piedmont cut short a news conference because of another tornado warning. ENTIRE STOCK - THREE PRICES ONLY 19950- 14950-9950 fvHv ci AX X ALi 0OUBLE- ... . P. BREASTED SUITS MENSWEAR 7 9950 5224 BURNET ROAD HvN 452-7122 LOS PAMELA S. DELGAMBRE. M.D. HAS DEDICATED HER PRACTICE JO WEIGHT CONTROL Expect to lose (3.2-5.2 lbs. per week) No hunger . ; ) May be covered by most major Medical Insurance 1 year maintenance program with diet instruction Free initial Consultation and Behavior modification WEIGHT RIGHT MEDICALLY 5926 Balcones Dr. 215 454-7683 The Nation fs Finest Solariums Compare and Save 40 f,. , sm ",imm " i ' ht i r" ' ' i . v;- V Complete Installations & Financing Available YssKrrt Call for A ROO VIS Ffee In"Home Estimate with n vipw inn 1-800-522-2171 kills 19 as About 140 people were in the Goshen church, five miles north of Piedmont. Rescuers had feared others were buried, but all were accounted for after more than 100 searchers dug through the rubble by hand and used a crane to lift the roof. The storm knocked out power and telephone service, hampering rescue efforts. Passing motorists helped ferry the injured to hospitals around Piedmont, a rural town of 6,000 residents 72 miles west of Atlanta. In Guntersville, Ala., the roof was blown off a nursing home. The 25 to 30 residents were not injured and were taken to a hospital. A tornado that touched down in DeKalb County injured 20 people, authorities said. Storms moved out of Alabama and up the Appalachian Mountains into Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, with tornado touchdowns, power outages, downed trees and damage to homes and businesses. In northern Georgia, dozens of injuries were reported. A trailer park was destroyed in Pickens County, near the Tennessee line. Seven of the 14 dead in Georgia HEADACHE RESEARCH STUDY o STRESS o WHIPLASH o SINUS o MIGRAINE NO COST TO PARTICIPANTS SCREENING EXAMINATION CONSULTATION CALL FOR INFORMATION 1-800-995-2829 STATISTICS FOIl SmHTTTAL TO THS NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NATIONAL HEALTH RESEARCH ORGANIZATION j -4 r ---- E-WEI.GHT Nineteen people were killed and at least 90 injured. Nineteen others died as twisters and violent thunderstorms tore through the Southeast. church collapses were in Pickens County. Two other trailer parks in nearby Georgia counties also were hit, authorities said. Shelters were set up. Don Stephens, a spokesman for the American Red Cross, estimated that at least 200 homes were heavily damaged in northern Georgia as tornadoes skipped through. At least 20 injured were taken to Mountain Side Medical Center in the Pickens County seat of Jasper, said administrative assistant Regi-na Camp. 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In Boiling Springs, about 50 miles southwest of Charlotte in western North Carolina, Jimmy Ledford and customers at his Buy and Sell store huddled for about 15 minutes as an apparent tornado passed through. "It's tore up a lot of buildings and trees and all kinds of stuff," he said. The town near the South Carolina line was without power. At least 10 people were injured. t Power outages and structural' damage were scattered through northern South Carolina, where at least two tornadoes touched down. FREE IN-HOME TESTING CAPITOL HEARING ADDS DAY OR NIGHT I R-2

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