Cleveland, OH Killer Storm and Tornado Strikes, Apr 1909





Special to the New York Times.
Cleveland, Ohio, April 21. -- From six to twenty persons are dead, at least nine are fatally injured, fifty or more are seriously hurt, and property has been damaged to the value of $1,000,000, as the result of a tornado lasting only five minutes, which hit Cleveland just after noon today.
The storm broke at 12:36, with hardly a minute's warning, and so violent was the wind that roofs were blown away, small houses, barns, and strongly braced smokestacks demolished, telephone and telegraph poles uprooted or snapped off, and wires blown across streets in all parts of the city.
The known dead are:
CROMWELL, JASPER, blown from a train at Cleveland Furnace Company plant.
PHALEN, MRS. OLIVE, nurse at State Hospital; skull crushed by stone blown from building.
Unidentified Woman, blown into a pond at Wade Park and drowned.
VESSLA, JOSEPH, killed by falling smokestack at Cleveland Frog and Crossing Works.
PETRO, LOUIS, crushed by falling roof; died at hospital.
SLAZEK, JOSEPH, struck on head by flying timber; died at hospital.
The fatally injured are:
NIEBALSKI, JOHN, boy, injured by falling steeple at St. Stanislaus Church.
RUBYSKY, J., crushed by flying timber.
PETRO, LOUIS, crushed by falling roof.
MAY, GLADYS, injured by falling shed.
HERIG, MRS. C. J., fell in kettle of hot water when roof collapsed.
TRAUTMAN, CHARLES, blown off Baltimore & Ohio freight train and lost both legs, rolling under the wheels.
HEFLER, CHARLES, 16 years old; struck by lightning.
YOUNG, DAVID, body crushed when wind overturned his wagon.
BENDER, HARRY, head crushed; caught under buggy overturned by wind.
GRUGEL, FRED, committed suicide during the height of the storm because he was afraid he was about to be killed. He rushed into a barn out of the rain and drank carbolic acid. He left a note explaining his action.
The storm came from the northeast, off the lake, the gale blowing at 66 miles an hour. In its wake followed a sheet of rain and hail which fell with terrific force.
In the blinding rain pedestrians were blown off their feet and hurled against buildings, while in many cases they were struck down by flying bricks and timbers which filled the air. Porches were stripped off houses, and, in some instances, roofs were carried 300 feet. Skylights and windows were crushed and many persons were injured by flying glass.
Twelve school buildings were damaged and many pupils had remarkable escapes, but none was seriously hurt. The roof was lifted from the main building of the Case School of Applied Science and buildings at Adelbert College sustained impairment.
The roof of Co-Operative Stove Company's plant, at Central Avenue and the Cleveland & Pittsburg tracks was lifted high in the air and hurled fifty feet on the roof of the WELLMAN - SEAVER - MORGAN Engineering Companies' plant, demolishing the roof of that plant and wrecking its walls. Many workmen in the latter plant were seriously injured by falling timbers and glass.
The Standard Tool Company's big plant near by was partially wrecked, its roof being ruins, and a part of its walls collapsing. Several employes were injured.
At Cedar Avenue and East 107th Street the plant of the KINSMAN Ice Cream Company and the Salvation Army Post Hall were wrecked by the wind. A barn owned by GILES Brothers was lifted in the air and deposited fifty feet in the rear of its former site. It was twisted and the roof burst from it as it landed, but four horses inside the barn were not hurt.
The largest single damage was done to St. Stanislaus Church, East Sixty-fifth Street and Forman Avenue. The wind almost demolished the structure. The loss is estimated at $125,000.
Subscription papers will be started tomorrow to raise money to repair the damage done to churches. It is estimated that a total loss of $200,000 has been sustained by churches other that St. Stanislaus. The others which were damaged are the Hungarian Catholic, Evangelical, Zion Evangelical, Immanuel, Wilson Avenue Baptist, St. Matthew's, and the Baptist Church, at Scranton and Clark Avenues.
The roof of the City Tuberculosis Sanitarium and the framework of the new exposition building were carried away.
KARL GRANT, 16, son of MRS. ELLA GRANT WILSON, florist in South Fourteenth Street, was buried in the debris of the greenhouses when a fifty-foot smokestack crashed through the glass building. He was unconscious when removed, and suffered serious injuries.
Four 500-pound cornices of Zion Lutheran Church, Branch Avenue and West Fourteenth Street, were ripped from the building, one striking JOHN CARTER, a laborer. Twenty children at play in the churchyard ran painicstricken into the pastor's house, but escaped injury.
Firemen and policemen from all of the stations in the city turned out to assist people whose homes had been wrecked, and who were injured in the storm.
There was little lightning and few fires, and no damage was done to the boats on the lake.

The New York Times New York 1909-04-22