Brandenburg survivor vividly remembers 1974 tornado - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Brandenburg survivor vividly remembers 1974 tornado

Posted: Updated:
Rick Allen Rick Allen
One of the two strongest tornadoes in the outbreak hit Brandenburg, Kentucky where 31 lives were suddenly gone. One of the two strongest tornadoes in the outbreak hit Brandenburg, Kentucky where 31 lives were suddenly gone.
At First Baptist Church in Brandenburg Thursday, the names of all 31 of those tornado victims were read. At First Baptist Church in Brandenburg Thursday, the names of all 31 of those tornado victims were read.
Tears were shed even though 40 years have passed since the tornado outbreak took it's toll on Meade County. Tears were shed even though 40 years have passed since the tornado outbreak took it's toll on Meade County.

BRANDENBURG, KY (WAVE) - It's a day that will never be forgotten, April 3, 1974. A deadly super tornado outbreak swept through several states. Two people were killed in Louisville, a total of 77 died in Kentucky and 49 in Indiana. One of the two strongest tornadoes in the outbreak hit Brandenburg, Kentucky where 31 lives were suddenly gone.

At First Baptist Church in Brandenburg Thursday, the names of all 31 of those tornado victims were read. Tears were shed even though 40 years have passed since the tornado outbreak took it's toll on Meade County.

[RAW: Interviews with Brandenburg residents who survived the 1974 Super Outbreak]

A scripture was read to the crowd, "If we know that our earthly house was dissolved we have a building of God. A house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Rick Allen remembered what happened to his house like it happened one hour ago. He was 14 and his grandmother was making dinner. As she put the food on the table, their home was picked up and thrown down by the twister.

[SLIDESHOW: Destruction caused by 1974 Super Outbreak]

"It was like dead calm," Allen recalled, "I kept trying to get up off the ground and I'd fall down and I didn't realize what really was going on at the time, that's when I looked down and noticed my leg was gone."

Allen saw several injured people, including family members. His mother was critically injured as she was picked up and carried one mile away.

[RELATED LINK: Remembering the 1974 Super Outbreak]

"My grandmother, she was underneath a car and my step-dad," he remembered, "I guess he was in shock because he picked the back of that car straight up over his head."

Allen's sister, 2-year-old cousin and his little brother were all gone. So surreal, it's hard to believe it happened.

"It was just a bad day," Allen said.  Courage brought Allen and many other survivors back together Thursday to remember that day 40 years ago and to share. Allen said his scars won't ever completely heal as his fears are triggered when tornado sirens now sound.

But over the years, he discovered there is a way to deal with it. "I stay prepared," he said. "I know what's going on with the weather every day, every day."

Doctors were able to save Allen's leg at Ireland Army Hospital.

The National Weather Service helped organize the remembrance ceremony in Brandenburg.

Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.