Plaza Towers Kindergartener Opens Up About Surviving Tornado

Thursday, May 30th 2013, 10:12 pm
By: News 9

A Plaza Towers kindergartener is telling her story after she and her classmates rode out that massive storm in the school's hallway.

Kaylee Sanchez, 6, and her classmates are just happy to be alive. For many families, like Maria Sanchez, and her daughter Kaylee, the reality of what happened at the school is still sinking in.

On the day of the storm, Sanchez was taking shelter where she works at the Regional Food bank off Southwest 36th St. She and her co-workers were keeping close tabs on the massive storm via laptop as it made its way into the metro.

"And then all of a sudden, I hear, it's taken the May 3 path, and that's when I just went blank, and I was like, I've got to get out of here," said Sanchez.

She had to get her daughter Kaylee, who was inside Plaza Towers Elementary, but she wasn't getting anywhere fast. After sitting in traffic for more than two hours, she decided to park her car, get out, and take off on foot towards the school.

"It was a very very hard day for me," said Sanchez.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

"Before we heard the sirens, we were doing our book-et, work which is our math book-ets, and then when I was talking to my teacher, she told me to be quiet," said Kaylee.

Kaylee and her classmates went out into the hallway and took cover.

"My teacher, Mrs. Baxter, she was on this side and the other teacher that helped her, she was on that side. So one hand was on top of me and one hand was on top of my friend Abigail's back, and they all got on top of us like that," said Kaylee.

Kaylee says several minutes later she was covered in what was left of her school.

"When the tornado came, all of the debris like came down on top of me, and then I told the teacher, it is over," said Kaylee.

"The first thing that I said, was like, how did my baby survive this," said Sanchez. "Just looking and still thinking, you know it's a miracle."

Sanchez never made it to Plaza Towers last Monday to get Kaylee. Her brother-in-law who was also on his way to the school got her daughter and took her to their home, about a block and a half away. Kaylee was sitting on their porch, still shaken, covered in mud, with a few scrapes and bruises,  but alive.