Windsor, ON Tornado Destruction, Apr 1974


Windsor, Ont. (CP) -- EIght persons died Wednesday night when the roof and one wall of the Windsor Curling Club collapsed during a violent storm.
It was still not clear today whether the damage was caused by a tornado which weather office officials said hit Windsor or by a lightning storm that brought winds reaching 70 miles an hour.
There were 11 other persons injured, including one man listed in critical condition.
The concrete and steel frame building was built in 1962 at a cost of more than $300,000.
It was located in the city's southeast end, in an area dominated by commercial development.
At a news conference today, Police Chief Gordon Preston said the department never received a severe storm warning for the area which had been sent from Toronto to area provincial police detachments.
However, the impending storm was widely broadcast on area radio and television stations.
A large private club across the street from the curling rink was untouched by the storm as was a school just down the street.
Eleanor Snelgrove who was inside the curling rink, said, "There was an awful crackling sound, you could see the wall coming down, there were people falling on top of me and it went dark."
Early today, city building inspectors sifted through the rubble trying to determine the cause of the tragedy. Police cordoned off the area as the three walls left standing continued to make creaking sounds.
There were 48 persons taking part in the mixed bonspiel and about 30 other spectators.
Two different theories on the cause of the collapse have been advanced.
Fire department officials said it is possible lightning struck the building, tearing a hole in the roof and causing enough pressure from the high winds to bring down the roof.
A weather office spokesman said a tornado whipped through the city's east end, near the curling rink, at about 8 p.m. EST.
Among the dead was DEREK BARLOW, 51, the city's building commissioner.

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