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Jackson, MS Tornado, Mar 1966

Jackson MISS tornado track.JPG


JACKSON, Miss. (UPI) -- Police and volunteers began a sweep of devastated areas of central Mississippi at first light today in a search for more victims of tornadoes that killed at least 58 persons and injured 450 others in Mississippi and Alabama.

Authorities feared the toll would rise as searchers moved across rural lands where many farmhouses were flattened by the awesome storms which also spawned flash floods in portions of Alabama and Georgia.

Additional state troopers were dispatched to the Jackson area to aid in the search through a four-county area scarred by a destructive swath some 65 miles long. Other twisters Thursday wreaked damage and killed one man in three Alabama counties.

One twister hit a crowded shopping center in a Jackson residential area, killing at least a dozen persons. A family of six was wiped out when their home at Leesburg was blown apart.

AUTHORITIES feared the toll would go higher as rescue squads sifted through debris under emergency floodlights that gave the Candlestick Park shopping center in Southwest Jackson the appearance of wartime London.

Part of a weather system that also spawned deluges which sent hundreds of persons fleeing from flash floods in Alabama and Georgia, the tornadoes struck their most devastating blows in the Jackson area.

Roaring "like an express train," a twister plowed into the Candlestick Park teeming with late afternoon shoppers and left a rubble of mangled bodies and twisted steel.

"I've been in Korea and the shopping center looked as if it had been hit by a bomb," said KENNETH FAIRLY, city editor of the Greenville (Miss.) Delta Democrat-Times. "There was only one building left that even looked like a building."

A little girl ran from one of the wrecked houses as Mayor ALLEN THOMSON inspected the damage. "Where's my mommy and daddy?" she cried, and fainted at THOPMPSON'S feet.

Rescue workers uncovered six bodies in neighboring Flowood, and 20 more victims were reported at the Parkville-Leesburg-Walnut Grove area about 30 miles northeast of Jackson. A family of six was killed at Leesburg.

"Candlestick Is Flattened"

JACKSON, Miss. (UPI) -- The sharp metallic voice on the police cruiser's radio blurted out the message.
"Candlestick is flattened' get us some help down here."

Detective JAMES BLACK was driving, his partner JOHN MOULDER was riding shotgun.

"Let's go," BLACK said. He slammed down the accelerator. MOULDER worked the siren. We headed southwest.

During the brief six-mile ride, the police radio told the story.

EDITOR'S NOTE: KEN FAIRLY, this paper's city editor, was on assignment in Jackson when the twister struck. By chance, he happened to be among the first newsmen to witness one of the state's greatest tragedies.

From the squad car on the scene: "Get the rescue unit, get somebody down here to help these people."

Continued on page 2


where Larry Burke lived

In the list of victims of the 1966 Candlestick Park tornado, I see Larry Burke noted as living in Flowood. I went to school with Larry and we were friends. He lived in Florence, Mississippi not Flowood. I heard he was in a truck with his uncle and they were coming back from fishing. He was a good guy and it was the first funeral I attended. I just want the correct listing for him. Thanks for remembering.

Candlestick Park Tornado

I survived a direct hit on our home as a 8 month old baby. We had just moved the day before from Indiana to my grandparents farms off Siwell Road. My Mother, my brother and I were the only ones home when it hit. We were all injured but survived. My mother had a severe brain concussion and it was a long way back for her. I had a deep cut to the face and the mud saved my life. ( not scarred now- scar moved to my hairline as I grew). Our home was flattened. Nothing but the cement slab left. Swept clean. We are all still here by the grace of God. Everything in our life was defined by that grace and this catastrophic event. These disasters shape history and the course of so many lives.


Marianne Johnson
( grandaughter of SB and Hattie Fillingame, Siwell Road, Jackson, Ms.)


Among those who died in this tornado at the Shopping Center were David Carpenter and his mother. David was 7 and he had two younger brothers survive there and one older brother survive who was at home. The remaining family moved back to Ohio.

Candlestick Park Tornado

I was 8 almost 9 years old when we lived on Wooddell Dr. and had just arrived home from school (Oak Forest) not too long before the tornado sirens started going off.

We had a very large picture window in the dining room on the back of the house which was 2 story. I remember the eerie green cast to the sky and how dark it got. My mom and sister could not seem to pull themselves away from the window. Mom was telling the rest of us to get in the closet under the stairs. Our german shephard was pacing the house like crazy trying to get us to go to the closet and patrolling from front to back. What they didn't realize was they were watching that monster tornado head toward the back of the house from across the drainage ditch. We were very blessed though from the perspective that instead of crossing the drainage ditch and hitting our house, it turned and followed it down to the shopping center.

I can remember seeing pictures of the old two-story farm house out in a field that was taken up by the tornado and put back upside down, or a single piece of straw driven into an oak tree. The people were in their vehicles some half dressed trying to escape and the amount of traffic in front of the house. Our dog had escaped the house and hopped in a car that was out front.

My sister's 6th grade teacher tried to out run the tornado was one of the ones that died in the storm.

Name Corrections

I have a few names that need to be corrected in this article. How would I go about this or who would I need to contact.

Thanks you!

You can list them here.

Just list the corrections here. Many times the names aren't spelled correctly in the newspaper articles.

Candlestick Tornado

I was a senior at Murrah High School and working as the stock boy at Morgan & Lindsey dime store in Morgan Center (now Woodland Hills). I was taking some trash out that afternoon when I saw the tornado from the loading dock at the back of the store. The base of it was huge and looked to me like it was just South of Murrah, but turned out it was crossing the Pearl River down by Hwy 80. I could see large chunks of debris swirling and bright flashes from power line arcing. I ran to get my boss to come see it but by the time we got back to the door rain was pouring so hard we could barely see the parking lot. The tornado had sucked the mighty Pearl dry and dumped it on us. We could see a few fish flopping in the street and swimming in the gutters! I had been planning to go slot car racing at the hobby store in Candlestick after work and am very happy the twisted didn’t strike an hour later.


I was 10 years old when this happened. We had just moved from Woodell Drive in Jackson to Houston Texas 5 months before this happened. A beloved teacher at our school, Mr. Mosely was killed. My brothers and sisters and myself spent summers at Oak Forest Elementary day camp with Mr. Mosely. It was horrible hearing stories from family friends still there what it was like.

My husband survived this

My husband survived this storm, as did his sister & brother. They lived outside Morton on Deason Rd. His parents and infant baby brother were killed. I see his father's name on the list but not his mother or brother. Mother - Lena Mae Kincaid, brother Milton Kincaid, approximately 6 months old. We were there this weekend for a funeral and were talking about it. One cousin remembers seeing the tornado coming across one of the fields and it had two tails.


I think members of my family might have been the first ones to your family after the tornado. My older sister and my dad (both now deceased) along with others were the first to help a family that lived on Siwel Rd. at the end of McCluer Rd. I know it was a woman and a small child. They used a door as a stretcher for the woman. Her husband had just arrived and was looking for their baby. My dad spotted the child covered with mud. My sister held the child as they drove them to the hospital.

article | by Dr. Radut