Tornado Damage Extensive In North Tulsa Neighborhoods

Thursday, March 31st 2016, 12:08 pm
By: Grant Hermes

The damage is extensive in the several north Tulsa neighborhoods near 46th and Hartford.

There are lots of roof, shingle, and siding damage. Power lines are down and many residents have been without power since Wednesday night.

St. Paul Ame Church in North Tulsa had been standing for nearly 40 years and it only took minutes to come down.

“Unbelievable, Unbelievable. It looked like a war out there,” said Sheila Washington, who just left the church before the tornado struck.

“I’m a songstress here, I’m here all the time. I’m a steward of the church so it just kind of hurts,” she continued.

She left Wednesday night after getting a text to take cover, and then she got an even more frightening message.

“Someone called and said the church has just been hit and I turned around and came back,” said Washington.

Back to the same pew she had been sitting in less than an hour before, now under a roof that’s no longer there. That’s when Sheila started to pray.

“I just knew that my life had been spared. You know if I had still been sitting here, If I had still been sitting here I don’t know,” she said.

“I just couldn’t imagine a tornado hitting our church. I know it’s a reality of living here in Oklahoma. It just didn’t register with me. It didn’t compute,” said the church’s pastor, Reverend R. Charles Smith.

Reverend Smith saw the damage Thursday morning and went straight to the alter where he’d been preaching just days before. It was the only thing he was grateful was left standing.

“I don’t know that anything here is irreplaceable, but the memories, the things that have occurred in this church, they will always be with the people,” he said.

For the time being, Reverend Smith says his congregation will just have to pray somewhere else. News 9 also learned that the roof was put on just a year ago.

3/30/16 Related Story: Tornado In North Tulsa Causes Tree To Fall On Truck Carrying Family Of Four