Barrie, ON Tornado Destruction, May 1985
BARRIE MOURNS DEAD.
SEARCH GOES ON FOR MORE BODIES.
Barrie, Ont. (CP) -- A grim, building-by-building search continued yesterday for more possible victims of a cluster of violent tornadoes that ripped like chainsaws across parts of Ontario Friday.
By sundown yesterday, the death toll in the strip of south-central Ontario that took the brunt of the twisters' fury was at least 12 as still numb residents picked through the debris of what had been their homes and belongings 24 hours earlier.
Included in the known death toll were eight victims in Barrie and four in other Ontario communities devastated by the brief but lethal twisters that roared out of a storm that was spawned over the Great Lakes Friday afternoon.
Four of the Barrie victims were children.
One police official said he feared additional bodies might be found in the rubble of more than 200 homes and factories in a normally pleasant subdivision set on rolling land near the south end of Barrie, about 100 kilometres north of Toronto.
Judy Mustoe, nursing administration supervisor at Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, said 154 people were treated there for injuries suffered during the tornado's three-minute onslaught.
Mustoe said 11 victims with serious or critical injuries had been transferred to three Toronto hospitals.
A Red Cross spokesman said that as well as the 12 victims killed by injuries directly inflicted by the storm, an elderly woman died of a heart attack believed berought on when the high winds blew in the window of her room in a senior citizens' lodge.
The Ontario deaths were in addition to 76 in three U.S. states also hit by a scattershot blast of tornadoes, generated by the same wide-ranging weather system that spanned from the Barrie area through Pennsylvania.
Ontario damage estimates were not completed but Premier Frank Miller, who toured the scene yesterday morning with two cabinet ministers, said it was "in the millions and millions of dollars -- that's all you can say."
Miller declared the tornado's path a disaster area and told a news conference he had called an emergency cabinet meeting for tomorrow to discuss provincial aid to the stricken area. Federal help was promised as well be Revenue Minister Perrin Beatty, named by Prime Minister Mulroney to advise on the disaster.
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