Belmond, IA Tornado Destruction, Oct 1966

Belmond IA Main Street View 1960's.jpg


Belmond, Iowa (AP) --A tornado swooped down with little warning on this north-central Iowa town Friday minutes after a high school homecoming parade broke up, demolishing the business district and leaving at least five dead.
Four of the five blocks in the town's business section were wiped out, numerous houses were wrecked and the injured were counted in scores.
MARC E. IHM, administrator of Belmond Community hospital, said five persons were dead "and very possibly there are many more in the rubble."
Searchers were organized into 11 teams to make a building-by-building search for further victims.
IHM said between 50 and 75 persons were treated for injuries at the hospital and an emergency room was set up in the American Lutheran church basement. Many other injured were taken to hospitals in nearby towns.
The tornado swooped down at 2:55 p.m., about 15 minutes after marchers in the Belmond High School homecoming parade had dispersed.
The homecoming football game between Belmond, undefeated in four years, and Lake Mills, unbeaten this year, was canceled.
The tornado, one of several hurled like thunderbolts out of oily black clouds in various parts of the state, demolished a furniture store that had its grand opening earlier in the afternoon.
It also wrecked the town's 10-year-old post office and a large supermarket, damaged a big soybean plant and ripped the roof and part of the front off the town's hotel.
The rapidly spinning, funnel-shaped cloud hurled 19 cars of a 23-car Chicago Great Western freight train off the tracks, but left the engine and caboose on the rails.
The only transportation through the business district after the storm had passed was on foot. Overturned cars, toppled trees and debris from buildings blocked passage by motor vehicles.
Sheriff's officers and highway patrolmen from throughout the area converged on the area for emergency duty.
Gov. HAROLD HUGHES, out campaigning with a Democratic caravan, quickly authorized mobilization of any National Guard troops and other state personnel that may be needed.
Maj. Gen. JUNIOR F. MILLER, adjutant general of Iowa, said in Des Moines the 3654th Ordnance Co. of Eagle Grove and Co. C, 1st Bn., 133rd Infantry at Hampton were ordered to Belmond.
Law enforcement officers blocked off the roads leading to Belmond to keep out curiosity seekers and looters.
MRS. MOODY QUENDT of Meservey, Iowa, who was in an optometrist's office when the storm hit, said the lights went out and the fixtures fell.
She said she ran into the street and "pieces of buildings were flying everywhere. The front of the Belmond Hotel, next door to the doctor's office, fell out."
The Weather Bureau in Des Moines said the tornadoes were triggered by a clash between a warm mass of air from the south, and a cool, moisture laden front moving in from the Rocky Mountains.

Daily Capital News Jefferson City Missouri 1966-10-15


The following is taken from the Des Moines Register Missouri 1966-10-15

The Belmond dead were identified as:
SAM CRABTREE, about 80, whose body was found beneath the wreckage of his home in the south part of town. His wife was taken to the Belmond Community Hospital with undetermined injuries.
MRS. EDWIN L. CHAPMAN, found dead in her home.
MIKE KURTZ, about 62, reportedly killed while riding on a cement-mixer truck.
MRS. EMMA SORENSON, found in the wreckage of her home.
MRS. ELLA PIERCE, found in wreckage of her home.
JOHN GREENLANDER, found dead at home.
The last three were reported to be in their seventies. Many persons were reported missing and it was feared the death toll would go higher.
Partial List Of Injured.
A partial list of those injured in the Belmond tornado.
At Community Memorial Hospital, Clarion:
JENNIE RETLEFF, 52, Belmond, fair.
GEORGE GORDON, 96, Belmond, good.
WILLIAM RABE, 54, Belmond, poor.
GUY QUASDORS, 60, Belmond, good.
MRS. DIANE LERDAL, 21, Belmond, good.
MISS FRANCES TANNER, 53, Aptos, Calif., good.
MRS. MARJORIE GROOM, 32, Rowan, fair.
MRS. ROSE DETTMAN, 77, Belmond, good.
TED TOWNSAN, 70, Belmond, good.
MRS. ELDA REYNOLDS, 46, Belmond, good.
MARY KOENER, 30, Belmond, good.
MICHAEL SHIMP, 4, Belmond, poor.
MARTY SHIMP, 2, Belmond, good.
MISS DIANE DRAPER, 20, Belmond, good.
HOWARD BEENKEN, 13, Belmond, good.
At Franklin General Hospital, Hampton:
HENRY CAHILL, serious.
KENNETH BOWEN, satisfactory.
IVAN KELLY, treated and released.
At Memorial Hospital, Mason City:
JANET WIEMANN, 12, daughter of MR. and MRS. BENA WIEMANN, Belmond. No condition.
KENNETH AUSTIN, 41, Mason City. No condition.
At Mercy Hospital, Mason City:
CHERYL ROELOFSEN, 16, daughter of MR. and MRS. VINCENT ROELOFSEN, Belmond. No condition.
MRS. JOHN PALS, 52, Meservey. No condition.
MRS. BERNARD NEVY, 50, Belmond. No condition.
MRS. JOHN KLINE, 66, Sheffield. No condition.
MRS. BARBARA SANDMAN, Belmond. No condition.
MRS. ED ACKERMAN, 40, Belmond. No condition.