Moore, OK – 2013
Our group arrived in Oklahoma City on Sunday June 9th, at the City Rescue Mission, and were assigned sleeping areas in the gym on cots furnished by FEMA. On Monday morning we drove to Moore, approximately ten files south of Oklahoma City.
Our first sight of the tornado’s destruction was turning off Interstate 35 at 4b Street. There we saw what was left of the hospital; the second floor was ripped opened and metal studs, as well as what was left of the interior rooms, could be seen. Several destroyed cars still remained in the parking lot; many others had been removed before we got there. Across the street from the hospital was the little that was left of a neighborhood subdivision. This is the area where we were assigned to work.
As our first task, we were given an address and instructed to search the area around the lot for any personal items of the family that had not been recovered. We did in fact find items such as pictures, small appliances, letters, bank statements, clothes, and shoes; one person recovered a $100 bill. We also found a considerable amount of change that was stuffed under the cushion of a lounge chair. Some items that were recovered were from other areas in and outside of Moore. Considering that the tornado generated winds in excess of 200 mph, these items could be from next door or from miles away.
After working as part of the search groups, we were assigned to cut down several trees at two homes that were damaged by the tornado. The female owner of one of the homes said that when the tornado struck, she was saved by lying in the bathroom tub. A heating furnace from a house down the block went through her roof above the bathroom where she had taken refuge. In fact, if air conditioning ducts had not been in the attic above her, this lady would have been killed or seriously injured. Most of the homes were built on slabs, so basements were not available for shelters. In our travels around Moore, we came across only two of there underground shelters out of the more than several hundred homes.