Saturday, April 03, 1999

Xenia to recall killer tornado today

The Cincinnati Enquirer

'74 tornado tore Xenia's heart

        XENIA — City officials and Miami Valley residents today will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the tornado that took the lives of 33 residents and caused more than $75 million worth of damage.

        Xenia Mayor John Saraga will speak at the “Reflections” commemoration from 4 to 5 p.m. today, which will include a moment of silence at the park on South Detroit Street at Miami Avenue.

        At 10 a.m., the mayor will place a wreath at a monument in front of City Hall on Detroit Street that lists the names of those killed.

        The tornado touched down in the Arrowhead subdivision and then moved west through the downtown business district at about 4 p.m. that Wednesday.

        While 33 local residents were killed, only 32 names appear on the monument.

        The Greene County Historical Society in Xenia, as well as news stories from the Xenia Daily Gazette, say the person who is considered the 33rd fatality was a woman named Ruie Drake, who was 98 years old and lived on West Second Street.

        Ms. Drake is considered a fatality of the tornado, although she died of internal hemorrhaging at a hospital in Columbus on April 9, 1974.

        Officials could not explain why Ms. Drake was excluded from the monument or if her name would be added to it.

        The coroner's office listed the tornado as a contributing factor in her death, but details of how she was injured April 3 were not available.

        The other 32 people listed on the monument were killed in Xenia during the storm.


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