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URGENT Seven Schoolchildren Killed in Storm

November 16, 1989

NEWBURGH, N.Y. (AP) _ An elementary school cafeteria wall collapsed early this afternoon during a wind and rain storm, killing at least seven children, authorities said.

Faye Goldstein, a spokeswoman for the Valley Central School District, confirmed the deaths and said 18 other students were injured. She said rescue workers pulled many children from under the rubble at East Coldenham Elementary School.

Wind toppled a tree and sent it crashing through the wall of a cafeteria where pupils were eating about 12:30 p.m., said Carole Armstrong, a school district secretary.

The school is about five miles west of Newburgh, a city of about 23,000 people located about 60 miles north of New York City.

Officials with the State Emergency Management Office could not immediately confirm reports that a tornado hit the school, said Gary Fryer, a spokesman for Gov. Mario Cuomo.

The Newburgh area and metropolitan New York were covered this afternoon by a tornado watch posted by the National Weather Service for large parts of the East Coast from Maryland to New England.

A more urgent tornado warning was posted for Westchester County, one of the counties between New York and Newburgh.

The storm was part of a band of severe thunderstorms crossing the Northeast today.

Update hourly