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Title: Rainsville Blown Off the Map
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The northern Warren County community of Rainsville was blown off the map Wednesday afternoon by one, or possibly two tornados that ripped through there on a path of destruction throughout the state. Miraculously there were no injuries at Rainsville save for a cut finger.

Residenets there, numbering about 50, today began picking up the prieces of their crushed belongings with assistance from the American Red Cross and the National Guard. The community was sealed off from onlookers Wednesday evening, except for relatives, while the stricken people sifted through the debris for their valuables.

The Red Cross set up a food station at the Rainsville Church, one of the three or four structures still standing. Food was being prepared at the Williamsport Christian Church and Phil Fisher has issued an appeal for assistance in getting the food prepared and getting it to Rainsville.

Governor Otis Bowen conferred with the White House by telephone this morning, requesting that Warren County be declared a disaster area from Wednesday's tornadoes, along with 28 other counties. A sokesman said the request would be confirmed in a telegram to Washington. Federal disaster relief officials then will contact Indiana Civil Defense officers to determine the needs and extenet of Federal aid. A decision is expected today or Friday.

Officials from the federal disaster agency will tour the counties and make recommendations following their on-site tour. The State Welfare Department would handle distribution of food stamps and commodities on an emergency basis.

Many of the alert residents of Rainsville gathered together in the school building there when they saw the black mass of air rushing toward town. Others headed for their cellars and two persons flattened themselves in a ditch along the main street.

Harvey Hall, who lost his home, his car, a motor home and the family's two house cats, said "We heard this noise that sounded like a freight train and saw that black cloud coming and I said 'Come on kids, this it it -- let's head for the cellar.'" The cellar they headed for was a fruit cellar under a shed and they stayed their until they saw daylight over their heads.

Hall, whose plight is typical of all Rainsville residents, said "Of course we had insurance, but you never have enough." He doesn't plan to rebuild a home in Rainsville, but might put a mobile home on his property.

Dave Hostetter's Rainsville Store, that furnished food and staples to the town's residents for 80 years, is completely gone. Late into Thursday Hostetter and a handful of friends were loading up what they could slavage into cars and trucks.

Damage was widespread elsewhere in Warren County, including the Carbondale, Judyville and Pine Village areas. One mile south of Judyville the Tom Weston home and new car were completely demolished and Mrs. Weston and their 3-year-old daughter injured. Mrs. Weston and the child were sucked out the back door of the home when she attempted to close it. Their car, with a scant 2,000 miles on it, is a total loss.

A detour was posted on Highway 41 north of Carbondale due to the damage and fallen power lines. It is believed there were also several dead cattle in that area.

[Photo caption: RANDY HALL, 15-year-old son of the Harvey Halls of Rainsville, smiles as he tells how he and his family escaped injury in the tornado that destroyed the town. Randy said "When we saw that big bunch of black smoke coming at us we headed for the cellar. With Randy are two relatives from Independence, Rusty and Tammy Snider.]

[Photo caption: THIS WAS A MOBILE HOME in Rainsville that was picked off its foundation, and pitched across the street. Its roof is leaning against the dark colored building in the background.]

[Photo caption: THIS WAS THE RAINSVILLE STORE -- The roof was lifted off and blown across the street of this structure that served Rainsville residents for 80 years. Owner Dave Hostetter and friends salvaged what they could of the store's canned goods and staples.]

[Photo caption: SALVAGING POSSESSIONS -- Rainsville residents gingerly picked their way through the debris and fallen power lines late Wednesday afternoon gathering bits of clothing, or anything else left intact in the wake of the tornado.]

Date: 4/4/1974
Origin: Daily Ledger Tribune
Author:
Record ID: 00000110
Type: Periodical
Source Archive: Warren County Historical Society
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Collection: Clipping file- Rainsville
Entered By: M. Park Hunter

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