Moore Firefighter Shares Search, Rescue Story At Plaza Towers


Tuesday, May 28th 2013, 6:48 pm
By: News 9


Just moments after that E-F 5 tornado slammed into Plaza Towers Elementary, killing seven children, the first responders ran through the rubble pulling survivors to safety.

Now, for the first time since that terrible day, a firefighter shares his story.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

A little over a week ago at Plaza Towers Elementary, that devastating tornado hit the school. Now, seven crosses stand with the names of the seven children who were killed.

It's a scene that's still fresh in the minds of the rescue workers who first responded. Lt. Shonn Neidel was one of the Moore firefighters first on the scene at Plaza Towers.

"People were coming out of the place like crazy. Dads, moms [were] running over to us [saying] ‘we've got kids trapped, we've got this, we've got that,'" Lt. Neidel said.

That's where his daughter Mylie goes to school, and she'd just gotten home from pre-K.

"It was real personal to me because I saw those people every day when I dropped her off," Lt. Neidel said.

Search and rescue teams pulled kids and teachers from the debris. Lt. Neidel remembers finding one little girl who was incredibly calm in the midst of the chaos.

"It was so peaceful in a way… it was just like she was waiting on us to help her out," Lt. Neidel says, "I just remember standing up out of the hole going, ‘I have no idea how I'm going to pull this off.'"

But he did.

So many lives were saved, but tragically, seven children died.

"There was a lot of things that we couldn't do anything about, but we wished we could. It's hard to talk about, but it's one of those, one of those things," Lt. Neidel said.

Most of us will never know what they went through, but they say the support that is pouring into Moore is helping them move forward.

"It's like it renews your faith in humanity," Lt. Neidel says, "there's good people out there, we just don't see it every day."

People from all over the country continue to bring stuffed animals and flowers to the fence around Plaza Towers Elementary as the community continues to recover.