CHEROKEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - An overnight tornado in Peggs, Oklahoma east of Tulsa left a challenge for the first responders trying to assess damage. When the sun came up, though, the destruction left in the storm’s path became clear. 

One of the worst hits happened at the only gas station in town, Cowboys. This business also includes a deli, banquet hall, laundromat, flower shop and feed store, but now much of what was inside is blowing in the wind.

“All the end of it is gone,” Clay Saffell said, describing the building he owns. “It’s like it was sucked out, like there’s some doors right here in the middle part that go back that way, and they’re gone. They’re sucked down to the end of the building. It’s done some really odd things.”

Saffell and his family just bought the filling station a year ago, and to make matters worse, it is gone right before Memorial Day weekend.

“Our season is the summer season,” said the business owner. “Winter time, we struggle just try to get by through the winter, make our money in the summer. We’re concerned about it.”

Cherokee County Emergency Manager Mike Underwood explains that the Saffell family is not alone. Most of the businesses along the main strip of Peggs suffered significant damage.

Underwood said, “It’s really sad to see such devastation, and these people work real hard to have what they have, so I think it’s really going to impact people here.”

Not only did families lose their businesses, but some also lost their homes. Underwood said his crews could not even get to most of them until morning due to downed power lines and trees.

“They went as far back in as they could go,” Underwood said, “and kept running into large timber they couldn’t move.”

The Saffell family expects clean up to take quite a while. They are just happy to have good insurance.