El Reno Mayor Foresees Long Road To Recovery After May Tornado
EL RENO, Oklahoma - Today marks three weeks since that record-breaking tornado swept through the city of El Reno. More than 29 city buildings suffered damage and now we know some of the repairs could take a year to fix.
"Almost all of our buildings were hit everywhere from the swimming pool building to the police and fire safety center," said El Reno Mayor, Matt White.
The 2.6 mile-wide storm hit multiple buildings, including the Rodeo Arena, hospital and the airport. All the hangers were hit hard on May 31, and one even a blue tarp on top of it held down by tires and anchored by a picnic table in order to keep to roof covered.Soft-ball sized hail pelted through buildings the city had just spent money to fix.
"We've put a lot of new roofs on them, so we're having to kind of regroup and look at that," White said.
While the city's insurance company lists 29 damaged buildings, it is just getting started with its damage surveys. More than 40 city vehicles were also damaged in the storm. Right now, the mayor doesn't know how much it's going to cost El Reno to repair everything, but he says it could take a long time.
"We have a lot of damage that you don't see right now, and that's going to be like all the roads, all the emergency vehicles going in and out," he said. "We're going to have to assess that and try to claim a lot of funds from FEMA."
But more than repairs, the mayor is most concerned about the many who died after the storm.
"That's probably the most serious thing, we had nine people in Canadian County who lost their lives," White said. "So then you go back and you move on to the next step, and the next step is to look at what's devastated."