Atlanta, GA Tornado, Mar 1975


Atlanta, Ga. (AP) -- A tornado thundered through northwest Atlanta early Monday, killing three persons, injuring at least 50 and leaving a huge industrial area in rubble.
The twister extensively damaged Georgia's $2 million governor's mansion, blowing off the roof and knocking down all the front columns of the elegant structure. The governor's office reported that GOV. GEORGE BUSBEE'S son, JEFF, 14, escaped injury when one of the columns crashed into his bedroom.
The governor reportedly was in the shower when the tornado ripped into the mansion, and he shouted a warning to his family.
Scores of persons were treated at hospitals and dozens more suffered cuts and bruises when the storm flattened buildings, shattered windows and tumbled cars about like matchsticks.
Mayor Maynard Jackson declared a state of emergency and said he would request federal disaster aid. Some 200 state troopers were called in to prevent looting and relieve traffic congestion, primarily in the more than a mile wide business area most devastated by the twister.
The tornado thundered along a 3 or 4 mile strip around 7:30 a.m.
"If the tornado had dipped down like it did an hour later, hundreds of persons would have lost their lives," said a rescue worker searching through rubble for bodies.
At least 30 huge tractor trailers were tumbled upside down or crushed when the twister demolished at U.S. mail terminal. Strips of aluminum from the rigs hung from trees or telephone wires and huge tires were flung about the area.
Authorities estimated at least 60 businesses or warehouses were demolished. Hundreds of cars were buried under the rubble or bricks, furniture, goods, roofing and other debris.
B. F. Monroe, who works in a warehouse adjacent to the terminal, said he ran out of the warehouse when he heard the twister.
"A piece of roof caught me. It threw me about 50 feet," he said. "When I was getting up I saw a Pontiac coming down the street rolling like a matchbox. I saw a woman fall out. It didn't even look like she was hurt."
Seconds later a wind-blown truck crushed the automobile, but the woman escaped. One man was killed when a collapsing wall crushed his car, and a woman was killed at her home. Rescue workers pulled the body of another victim from the wreckage of a warehouse.
The victims were identified as ARTHUR HAROLD SAUSMER, 29, of Doraville, Ga., crushed in his car; MARK HOWARD, 24, of Atlanta, who was in the warehouse, and CATHERINE HUNKEN, about 55, of Atlanta.
The twister spun out of storm clouds that rolled across the metropolitan area in a northeasterly direction. It demolished a shopping area and flipped cars and trucks upside down as it hit a nearby commercial district.

The Lincoln Star Nebraska 1975-03-25