Topeka, KS Tornado Crushes City, June 1966

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RUSH DISASTER AREA REQUEST FOR AID TO STRICKEN TOPEKA.

Topeka, Kan. (AP) -- Gov. WILLIAM AVERY today said an early assessment of damage from a tornado which killed 17 persons here "would justify a request for areas ... to be declared a disaster area."

Such a request will go to the Office of Emergency Planning immediately, he said. JACK SULLIVAN, regional director of the OEP in Denver, sat in on a news conference with the governor and said his recommendations on the request would go to Washington before nightfall.

Public shelters in this tornado stricken city were virtually empty today as residents who lost their homes in Wednesday night's storm returned to residence sites seeking pieces of their lives before the storm.

Red Cross officials said they expect the shelters to become more popular as communications is restored and more of the public learn the location of shelters and what facilities are available.

A 5-year-old boy died today, the 17th fatality from the tornado which hit Tuesday night.

He was CRAIG BEYMER, son of MR. and MRS. DONALD BEYMER.
The boy's right leg had been amputated because of injuries in the storm. He had numerous other injuries.

The BEYMERS formerly lived at Leavenworth.

Many of the estimated 2,000 persons left homeless in the $100 million storm sought temporary shelter with friends, relatives and more fortunate strangers.

Some later found that storm damage to houses was not as severe as first expected. Materials for temporary repairs roofing, plywood to cover broken windows -- were in demand. Hardware stores did a good business in flashlights and kerosene lanterns when many found they would be without electricity for a second night.

Continued