Bethany, Camel Creek, OK Tornado Damage, Nov 1930
17 ARE KILLED WHEN TORNADO HITS OKLAHOMA.
MORE THAN 100 INJURED AS TWISTER CUTS SWATH THROUGH LITTLE COMMUNITY OF BETHANY.
OVER 200 BUILDINGS IN TOWN ARE RAZED.
FOUR PUPILS DIE AND TEN HURT AS SCHOOLHOUSE IS STRUCK -- LAD TELLS OF STORM.
By Associated Press.
Oklahoma City, Nov. 19. -- A tornado cut a swath of death and destruction today through the little church colony of Bethany, seven miles west of here. Seventeen persons were killed and at least 100 were injured. More than 200 buildings were destroyed.
Striking during a heavy rain storm, the tornado levelled a 200-yard wide path through the eastern edge of the town, burying many persons in the wreckage of their homes.
Five campanies of Oklahoma national guardsmen went into the area after the storm had cleared to protect the scattered valuables from vandals.
Dropping first a few miles south of Bethany, the twisting funnel wrecked the Camel Creek schoolhouse, killing four pupils and injuring the teacher and 10 other students.
FLOYD ROETTGER, 12, one of the pupils described how MISS MARY PROCTOR, the teacher, attempted to save the children and how he himself called an ambulance and removed two dead from the ruins.
"It kept getting darker all the time," he related. "I was looking out the window. Soon I heard a loud noise. I shouted, 'Here it comes!'"
"The kids screamed. MISS PROCTOR told us to be quiet and all to fall to the floor. Everyone did. But before we were all down it seemed the school was sliding. Then all of a sudden it crashed."
The tornado whipped on north, through the eastern side of Bethany, state headquarters for the Nazarene Church and home of Bethany college a denominational school.
Topples Brick Buildings.
Like a gigantic scythe the storm cut a sharply defined swath through a residential section, reducing frame houses to splinters and toppling brick buildings like toy block houses.
The first organized relief unit to attack the wreckage was the football team of the nearby Consolidated school. Two members of this group alone carried eight dead from the wrecked homes.
YATES HOOVER, an ambulance driver, found the body of his father where their home had stood.
When MRS. W. L. BURTON saw the storm approaching she caught her baby in her arms and sheltered it as the house collapsed. Her husband found her, shivering in the rain, the child still clutched in protection. The baby escaped with minor scratches, but MRS. BURTON was badly lacerated.
TEACHER TELLS HOW TORNADO RAZED SCHOOL.
SAYS CHILDREN FLEW IN ALL DIRECTIONS AS TWISTER WHIRLED BUILDING APART.
AWOKE LYING IN CREEK.
Editor's Note -- MARY PROCTOR is the 24-year-old teacher at the Camel Creek school house where four children were killed and the teacher and eight others injured in the Bethany, Okla., tornado Wednesday. Her cool direction of the students may have prevented a much larger loss of life.
By MARY PROCTOR.
(As told from her hospital bed to the Oklahoma City Times and The Associated Press).
Oklahoma City, Nov. 19. -- It was so dark the children couldn't see to study and I had been reading to them.
The lightning was vivid and it seemed stuffy. I had one of the boys open a window.
Then I heard the terrific noise and knew what was coming.
I had the boy close the window and told all the children to lie flat on the floor.
It would have been useless to leave the building because there were no trees closer than the creek a hundred yards away.
Some of the children did not even have time to get on the floor before I felt the building move, realized the roof had been torn off -- that the school was being hurled through the air.
I saw children flying in every direction as the school whirled apart.
The next thing I knew I was lying in the creek. Several children were near me.
A boy was pinned under a piece of the school wall.
I lifted the wall from him and took one of the little girls out of the creek. I don't know who it was.
It wasn't long before help came.
Titusville Herald Pennsylvania 1930-11-20