Photographer digs out memories of April 5 tornado
The Columbian reported on the 40th anniversary of the tornado in 2012.Forty-two years ago, a deadly tornado struck Vancouver. Larry Crispien took photographs of twisted metal, crumpled brick walls and a collapsed school roof on April 5, 1972.And then?“I forgot about them,” Crispien said. “I had them in a suitcase in storage, which is where all our pictures have ended up.”His collection of disaster photographs became the sort of archival stash you’d find only if you went looking for something else.And he did.“My son is getting married in June,” Crispien said, and he went looking for collections of family snapshots to show at the wedding reception.That’s when the Camp Bonneville-area resident found a packet labeled “1972 tornado.”Six people died when two buildings — a supermarket and a bowling center — collapsed.The tornado also destroyed Peter S. Ogden Elementary School, which was rebuilt a mile to the east.Crispien was 19 back then, and a graduate of Washougal High School working in food service at St. Joseph Community Hospital (now PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center).Crispien said he probably wasn’t working that day, or he would have remembered being in the hospital when injured people started arriving.But Crispien’s long career as a C-Tran bus driver did keep him close to one aspect of that disaster. The original “Ogden Elementary was right across from where C-Tran is now,” he said.