Louisville, KY Tornado, Mar 1890
Eighty-eight Bodies Have Been Taken From the Debris.
Two Hundred Persons Were Seriously and Nearly Seven Hundred Slightly Injured at Louisville - The Work of Taking Out the Victims Still Goes On - Grand River Almost Totally Destroyed - Houses Blown Down at Danville - Relief.
LOUISVILLE, March 29. -- To-night it is believed the estimate of the dead and injured at Falls City hall has been over-marked and that the total number of persons in the building when it crashed in was not half as great as the first guesses placed it.
MRS. MARY HOLSHER, who was in attendance at the meeting of the Knights and Ladies of Honor, on the top floor, says instead of 200 up there, there were about seventy-five people in the room. The number on the dancing school floor below was also smaller than the first report. She says the first intimation that they had of what was coming was a blinding blast of lightning and a violent gust of wind, which shook the building, but before they could get their wraps the windows were blown in, the gas went out, and a moment later the floor caved under their feet. MRS. HOLSHER became unconscious and knew no more until the rescuers took her out of the debris.
The executive committee of the relief fund has received a large number of additional subscriptions and all cases of destitution, where immediate action is necessary, have been cared for.
To-morrow a thorough system will be put in operation by which everybody who needs aid will be given relief. Wherever houses are not too badly damaged repairs will be made at once.
The amount of the fund now in the hands of the treasurer is about $32,000, and this is being added to to-night. Offers of assistance have been received from a number of outside cities, but the board of trade committee declined the offers of assistance for the present.
Mayor JACOBS said, however, while he was opposed to calling for outside help, if voluntary contributions were offered he would advise acceptance. He has replied in this spirit to several telegrams from outside points. The money, he says, can be used to good advantage, but as regards offers of food, clothes, medical attention, etc., the mayor feels that Louisville can house and feed all the wounded and distressed and bury the dead, so all offers of this kind are respectfully declined.
Two or three large mercantile firms in the east telegraphed Mayor JACOBS to draw on the for $1,060, and a telegram to the same effect came from President SOMMER, of the Indianapolis board of trade. These offers have been accepted.
The relief committee of the Knights and Ladies of Honor to-night report there were at the time of the disaster 100 people in their hall. They have made a careful canvass, showing twenty-three dead, thirty-one wounded, five known to have escaped unhurt and the remainder still unaccounted for. Some of these latter may be dead or injured, but this will not be known definitely before to-morrow, or perhaps Monday.
Undertakers have more than they can attend to to-morrow. In all there will be at least thirty funerals.
At CHRIS MILLER'S place, 1,707 Market street, the proprietor lies dead and the house is full of other corpses. Two of them are white and four colored. Up to midnight ninety-four bodies have been recovered and it is supposed five or six more may be found in out of way places. Of those injured to a noticeable extent, the closest estimated to-night is 125. Of this number at least twenty-five are in a critical condition.
The weather to-day is clear and the temperature is spring like. The work of recovering the bodies buried under the debris of Thursday night's tornado goes on with a largely augmented force. The fine weather is very favorable to clearing up the wreckage and the removal of valuable goods in the tobacco and mercantile districts to safe shelter from the elements. To-day's developments will in all probability disclose the full extent of the terrible affliction.
Temporary roofs are being put up wherever possible, and hundreds of hogs-heads of tobacco are being carted to warehouses in parts of the city untouched by the storm. The streets in districts worst damaged are still picketed, but except between Eleventh and Twelfth on Market street the cars are running, and wagons and all but mere sight seers are allowed to pass. Hundreds of men are busy trying to save the stocks of goods and private property. Excellent work was done by board of trade committees in canvassing and learning the names of residents and sufferers in the storm-stricken section, rendering imposition and robbery next to impossible, and the people are allowed to go freely to their ruined homes with friends and employes and rescue what they can. Many of those employed at work in the wreckage are paid by the board of trade committee and whenever help is needed it is given.
At the Falls City hall about sixty men, under the direction of the captain of police, are still at work.
Dispatches received from points in this state show Thursday night's storm created terrible havoc. The town of Grand Rivers, twenty-seven miles east of this city was nearly swept away. MATTIE BECK and JOHN ETHERIDGE, a boy, were killed and nineteen others injured.
Passing from Grand Rivers the cyclone struck the railroad bridge over the Cumberland river, disabling it, thus cutting off all trains.
All telegraph lines were destroyed and only through relief trains sent out from this place could facts be learned.
At Farmington, twenty-five miles south there was great damage to buildings, but no loss of life.
In Paducah the storm was light, doing no damage of importance, but breaking down telegraph poles. It is thought the story as to this section is not half told. The storm swept over a section of Laurel county last night. So far as can be learned no lives were lost, but there was great damage to property.
A section of the country around Eminence, Ky., was visited by a cyclone Thursday night and many buildings were wrecked. Two persons are known to have been killed and others fatally injured.
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