Allen County, OH (other locations) Tornadoes, Apr 1965
DEVASTATING WINDS; SCORES HURT; 7 DIE IN AREA COUNTIES.
Lima, Ohio -- (AP) -- A devastating tornado slammed through Lima-land Sunday night from cloud laden skies, ripping a path through the north central and northeastern sections of Allen County. In its wake were at least 10 known dead, scores injured and untold property damage.
Other widely scattered funnels of destruction struck the area, leaving at least 7 dead in neighboring counties.
First reports of the disastrous storm which struck Allen County came about 9:30 p.m. Sunday when the sheriff's office and highway patrol were notified of damage north of Cairo.
The funnel apparently first struck between Gomer and Cairo and moved eastward between Beaverdam and Bluffton, leaving debris, dead and injured where homes, barns and other buildings had stood.
On Rt. 65 near Cairo, a car occupied by the four members of the JAMES IMM family, 540 W. McKibben, Lima, was tossed into a field by the giant twister.
A lengthy search was launched for the family during the night after it was learned they failed to return home. Finally, rescuers discovered the family in a water-filled ditch.
The couple's children, SCOTT, 2, and ANDREW, 5 months, were dead on arrival at St. Rita's Hospital. The coroner reported they had drowned in the water.
The parents were admitted to the hospital for injuries suffered when their car was ripped apart by the storm.
Near Bluffton, three members of a family were killed. MRS. ULYSSES (BETTY) RICHENBACH,
42, Rt. 2, Bluffton, died in surgery at St. Rita's. Her son, JOE STEINER, 19, was dead at the scene, as was MRS. EVA CLYMER of Findlay, who was reported to be MRS. RICHENBACH'S mother.
Numerous homes in the path of the funnel were reduced to kindling and the occupants thrown into yards and fields.
At least 34 persons were admitted to Bluffton Community Hospital, Memorial Hospital and St. Rita's Hospital. None was reported critically injured. The three hospitals listed an additional 62 persons treated and later released.
This morning, the grim task of searching debris in the 200-yard wide path of the storm for additional victims was continuing as law enforcement officers blocked all roads into the area to prevent looting.
The highway patrol established a communications headquarters in a radio-equipped trailer in downtown Beaverdam and reported patrolmen and auxiliary officers from other posts were on duty in the area.
Allen County Sheriff Edward L. Fair reported all available deputies, constables and village officers were on duty in the disaster area. Many have been at the scene since shortly after the storm struck.
Volunteer firemen from the several departments in the area were also on the scene assisting in the search.
The three hospitals reported additional personnel were called to handle the large number of injured brought in by ambulances and in cars.
In addition to the IMM family car, blown from the highway near Cairo, officers said several trucks and cars were carried from Interstate 75 northeast of Beaverdam.
Allen County Engineer Ray Kohli mobilized his crews Sunday night, equipped at least a dozen units with snow plows to clear roads of trees, portions of damaged buildings, mud and other debris.
Kohli worked in conjunction with Sheriff Fair's department. County Commissioners Harold Kiracofe, James Shafer and Richard Thompson adjourned their scheduled meeting today to make a survey of damage in the county.
Leaving Allen County, the tornado moved into the southwest corner of Hancock County, leaving a husband and wife dead and four persons hospitalized, the Hancock sheriff's office reported.
The Hancock dead were listed as MR. and MRS. ADRIAN PIFFER, Rt. 1, Bluffton.
Shelby County reported three dead and more than 40 injured in the twister which swooped to earth at Fort Loramie, killing MRS. BERNADINE BARHORST when her Rt. 1, Minster, farm home was leveled.
The storm moved in an easterly direction causing the most damage at Anna where a brother and sister, ISAAC CASNER and MRS. JACOB ZIMPHER, died when their home was demolished.
All told nine homes and 12 barns were leveled by the storm.
Memorial Hospital in Sidney reported admitting 40 persons for treatment of injuries, and Joint Township Memorial Hospital, St. Marys, reported treating two storm victims.
The winds struck with such force that 53 cars of a 68 unit northbound freight train were derailed two miles south of Anna. Baltimore and Ohio railroad officials estimated it would take at least 24 hours to clear the wreckage.
Two persons died in Mercer County in a storm believed to be the same one which caused widespread death and damage in northern Allen County.
MRS. PHYLLIS WOLFE, 28, of Rt. 1, Rockford, was killed. Her husband ROBERT, 30, daughter GWENDOLYN, 8, and sons, NICK, 5, GAIL, 1, MITCHELL, 7, and MATTHEW, 4, were injured when their farm home was leveled by the fierce winds.
This morning, MITCHELL was reported in critical condition in Parkview Hospital, Ft. Wayne. The other members of the family were in fair condition in Decatur, Ind., City Hospital.
The storm also hit portions of southern Van Wert County, causing widespread damage and some injuries in Venedocia. No deaths were reported.
Auglaize, Hardin, Logan, Putnam and Paulding counties reported high winds and rain, but damage was not extensive. They listed no deaths or injuries.
Sunday's weather was similar to that of another Palm Sunday, March 2, 1920, where unseasonably warm weather swept through the area causing a violent atmospheric disturbance by clashing with a mass of cold air. This spawned a tornado that dipped down in Moulton, killing three, and moved northeasterly to Lima where one died.
County's 10 Dead.
The tornado claimed lives of the following Allen Countians:
SCOTT IMM, 2, of 540 W. McKibben.
ANDREW IMM, 5 months, 540 W. McKibben.
MRS. ULYSSES (BETTY) REICHENBACH, 42, Rt. 2, Bluffton.
MRS. EMMA JANE DUNLAP, 68, Hook-Waltz Rd., near Elida.
MRS. LILLY MANAHAN, 87, Bently Road, Bluffton.
MRS. MERLE ARNOLD, Rt. 2, Columbus Grove.
CLAIR VANDEMARK, State Road, near Elida.
MRS. EVA H. CLYMER, 75, Findlay.
JOE STEINER, 19, Rt. 2, Bluffton.
MRS. IDA LUGABUHL, Bluffton.
The Lima News Ohio 1965-04-12