Siluria, AL (other towns) Tornado Damage, Apr 1953

Siluria AL  Mill Tornado Damage 4-18-1953.jpg Siluria AL  Tornado Damage 4-18-1953.jpg Siluria AL  Tornado Damage 4-18-1953 2.jpg




Columbus, Ga., April 18 (UP) -- At least nine persons were killed and scores injured today when a series of savage tornadoes, one bearing 100-mile-an-hour winds, struck in Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia.
The latest twister, a vicious storm that demolished a new brick church building, whipped through three Alabama towns and then side-swiped this teeming military base city.
Officials estimated damage will reach several million dollars, much of it in this Georgia city which borders Alabama. Weathermen said the same tornado first dipped down on Auburn, Phenix City and Smith's Station in Alabama before crossing the Chattahoochee River and slamming into Columbus.
Hospitals were overflowing with injured here and police said other persons hurt by the tornado may still be trapped in the debris. Fifty persons were hospitalized in Columbus alone late tonight and authorities feared the injury total may rise to 100 or more.
First reports indicated Fort Benning the big infantry training center, was spared from telling effects of the twister, which concentrated on the city's southside residential area.
The dead from the tornado sweep over the three Southern states included one in Waldenburg, Ark.,
one in Columbus, three in Smith's Station, Ala., two in Auburn, one in Phenix City and one in Gentry's Gap, Ala.
Names were not available late tonight on all the victims. LEVONNE ANTLEY, 17, a Columbus girl, died when she was pinned underneath falling trees. MRS. MAUDIE NEVELS was killed in Phenix City, across the river from Columbus.
Most of the fatalities apparently occurred from falling debris, police said. A call was issued tonight for out-of-town doctors to come help treat injured in Columbus. In Auburn, the injured were treated by candlelight as power failed.
Other tornadoes of lesser ferocity hit at least four other rural Alabama towns.
One of the twisters wrecked a cottom mill at Siluria, 28 miles south of Birmingham, and destroyed or damaged some 30 houses.
Auburn, reported hard-hit by the big twister that later struck Columbus, is the site of Alabama Polytechnic Institute but there were no reports of any injuries or damage st the college.
The vicious winds ripped roofs off homes and felled power poles, communications lines, and trees. One Georgia Highway was blocked by trees that were toppled onto the pavement by a tornado.
Information on the tornado effect in Columbus and Auburn was skimpy because of communications difficulties. Telephone lines were out to Auburn and only emergency calls were being taken to and out of Columbus late tonight.
LEVONNE ANTLEY, 17, was killed as the fierce winds swept down on the Georgia city, which borders Alabama.
Weathermen said the same twister struck earlier this afternoon at the college town of Auburn, Ala.,
where a tornado howled into the main residential section and cut a path of damage a half-mile wide.
One unidentified person was reported killed at Auburn, site of Alabama Polytechnic Institute, and police said dozens were injured.
Both Columbus and Auburn, 30 miles apart, were reported "hard hit." Houses were blown down at Auburn and trees and telephone poles were knocked across railroad tracks. Telephone communications were out to the Alabama college town.
The Alabama Highway Patrol said an undetermined number of persons were hurt, a cotton mill was destroyed and between 25 and 30 houses were wrecked or badly damaged at Siluria, Ala., by a tornado that struck at mid-afternoon.
Patrol Sgt. Thomas Maxwell said the little mill town 30 miles south of Birmingham was "torn all to heck." Maxwell said workmen at the Buck Creek cottom mill had quit work for the day before the twister hit, but "several" persons in the community suffered injuries.
At least three Siluria houses caught fire, apparently from faulty heating equipment stirred by the winds, and burned to the ground.
First reports from Columbus said "a lot of roofs" were blown off houses.
A church was reported demolished by the winds and power off on the city's north side.
Earlier today, tornadoes skipped across Arkansas
killing a 90-year-old woman and injured 20 other persons.

The Anniston Star Alabama 1953-04-19