Renolette, OH Tornado, Mar 1920


Little Town Eight Miles West of Defiance Is Wiped Out of Existence.


(Special to the News.)
DEFIANCE, O., March 29 - Six are known to be dead, many injured in the village of Renolette, eight miles west of Defiance, wiped absolutely out of existence, while Brunersburg two miles northwest of this city, has been badly wrecked, in the toll of a cyclone which visited this section Sunday evening, missing Defiance by less than two miles.

The twister came from the southwest, apparently from the direction of Indiana, but as wire communication was utterly impossible at the time this message was filed, just what transpired beyond the immediate territory adjacent to Defiance is but a matter pf conjecture.

The village of Renolette of perhaps a hundred inhabitants was the first place in this section to be visited by the cyclone and was the worst sufferer. Not only was practically every house in the place leveled to the ground but fire broke out and completed the work of destruction. Three dead have thus far been accounted for, with many injured.

The elevator was picked up by the wind monster and carried across the railroad track.
Leaving Renolette, the huge, black, twisting cloud, whose rumble was heard and which was plainly discernible in Defiance, passed northwest of here and enveloped Brunnersburg, of about 130 population. Here, too, fire broke out in the wake of the wind at the home of John Sohn, but it was fortunately extinguished before it got under way. The village is a pitiful appearing mass of ruins for the most part. Out of about three dozen houses in the place not a single one escaped serious damages, many of them being wrecked. It was here that MRS. HARRY GERST, of Defiance, and JOE STEITLE, residing a coups of miles southwest of the village, met death. Steitle was dead when taken from the ruins of a house in which he sought refuge.

Mrs. Gerst lost her life as the result of being hit with flying debris when the auto in which she, her husband and children were riding was picked up by the wind, overturned and whirled from the roadside. The husband was seriously cut about the face and bruised about the body, while the children escaped serious injury. The auto is a complete wreck.

The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel, Fort Wayne, IN 29 Mar 1920