Only On 9: News 9 Tours Tornado Damage At El Reno Motel
News 9 toured the tornado damage Tuesday at the El Reno motel that was destroyed by an EF-3 tornado Saturday night.
People who were inside the American Budget Value Inn at the time of the tornado were able to come back Tuesday and go through some of the debris, trying to find some of their belongings. News 9 was able to get a look inside some of the rooms.
During the tour, News 9’s Aaron Brilbeck said he was amazed none of the guests at the hotel were killed. Two people at the adjacent mobile home park died.
Cars were flung into the hotel and into each other. Inside the rooms, beds were covered with debris. A pair of slacks hung on a hanger in one room, even though the roof was blown off and walls were knocked down.
Guests were allowed to return to the hotel to salvage what they could.
Dawnette Witt was in her room when the tornado touched down.
"It just hit. No, no warning. Just hit,” said Witt. "I heard a gust of wind and that’s it, and my ears popped, and water started coming down on me."
Witt wanted to get some papers and keys out of her Chevy Tahoe. It looked like it rolled several times.
"It don't look like a Tahoe to me. It don't look like my vehicle,” said Witt.
Owner Ramesh Patel’s heart hurts looking at the mess. He’s put 25 years of his life into the hotel.
"You know, in spite of all this, I'm happy everyone got out alive and safe. Something like this we were expecting the worst, but it's a miracle,” said Patel.
"We're going to rebuild. That's why we're going to fight with our insurance. Either rebuild or if they allow, we will raze it to the ground, build it new,” continued Patel. "Been here too long. This is my home. This town."
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