Most Joplin tornado deaths occurred in homes

Friday, June 17, 2011 | 12:00 p.m. CDT; updated 3:54 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 19, 2011

JOPLIN — Most of the victims of the May 22 tornado in Joplin died in their homes, rather than in places such as stores or vehicles.

The Joplin Globe determined exactly where 106 of 153 victims died. It reported Friday that 57 of those people, or 54 percent, died where they lived. Thirty-two percent died in non-residential areas such as stores or churches, and 14 percent died in vehicles or outdoors.

The large number of deaths in homes is prompting discussion about ways to improve residential safety as the city rebuilds from the destruction.

Measures being considered include requiring hurricane straps on new construction and extra bolts in structures that tie walls to their foundations. But several city council members said they oppose requiring homeowners to have basements or shelters.