Omaha, NE Tornado, May 1905



Omaha, Neb. -- Three persons were killed and six injured, none fatally, by the collapse of a three-story building at Thirtieth and Grace Streets, Omaha, late Wednesday. The building was occupied by the Omaha Casket Company, and the killed and injured were with one exception employes of the concern.
The dead are JACOB KIRSCHNER, 43, assistant shipping clerk; L. MON MARTIN, a collector, aged, 22, and HENRY DIETL, aged, 40 foreman.
The collapse of the casket factory was due to a heavy wind storm which at a point near the factory assumed the proportions and action of a small tornado. The building was a substantial one of brick, three stories high. The collapse came without warning. W. A. SMITH, the shipping clerk, who was the first to extricate himself, said he saw a storm coming and went to a door to close it. Just as he reached the door the whirling storm struck the building. The roof was raised into the air and dropped, causing the heavy brick walls to collapse.
Those inside the building were carried down, some to death, while they were at work.
A terrific storm of rain and hail followed the destruction of the building, several inches of water falling in a very short time.
A hundred employes of a brewery located near the casket factory rushed to the latter building and at once began the work of rescuing the unfortunate factory employes. At the same time a call was sent to the police and fire departments, each of which sent a large detail of men to the scene. When they reached the collapsed building only one person, SMITH, had managed to extricate himself, but the cries of the injured and dying under the debris were plainly heard. It was an hour before the injured were rescued.
The monetary loss is about $75,000 of which $40,000 is on the stock. The stock was owned by the Iowa Coffin Company, of Dubuque, Ia., and the building by local capitalists. The greater part of the stock will be nearly a total loss.
The dead bodies were removed to the coroner's office, where an inquest will be held.
City Building Inspector Withnell said the factory had been recently inspected and that it was in a substantial condition.
All the windows were open at the time the storm struck the building, and to that fact is attributed the raising of the roof by the wind, which was followed by the collapse of the walls.

Sioux County Herald Orange City Iowa 1905-05-10