Victims of Lone Grove Tornado Identified

Thursday, February 12th 2009, 12:33 pm
By: News 9

Staff and Wire Reports

ARDMORE, Oklahoma -- Those killed in Tuesday's deadly tornado in Lone Grove have been identified.

Lone Grove Damage

The state medical examiner's office identified the victims as, Susan "Gail" Fambrough,54, William Fambrough, 48, Tim Nevill, 36,  Molly Hutchinson, 53, Trevor Morgan, 30, Donna McGarvey, 54, William Wheat, 78, from Lone Grove and Gary Boyd, Jr., 39, from Jones, Oklahoma.

A memorial service for the Fambroughs will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at Faith Southern Baptist Church in Ardmore.

The EF 4 tornado killed at least eight people Tuesday. During a press conference Thursday afternoon, Lone Grove City Manager Marianne Elfert said that 10 to 15 residents remain unaccounted for.

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    "The search and rescue is complete," Elfert said Thursday.

    She said Federal Emergency Management Agency officials would be assessing damage Thursday as the state works through the process of seeking federal assistance for uninsured losses. Most utility service was restored by Thursday to the southern Oklahoma town of 4,600 people.

    "I think people are very optimistic," Elfert said. "We are a strong community."

    Most of the deaths occurred in an area of mobile homes, where no tornado shelter was available for residents to take refuge. In one case, a victim was found underneath a pickup truck the tornado had lifted and dropped on him.

    There also were miraculous tales of survival. People who were huddling in a closet grabbed a woman after the tornado blew part of the roof off and threatened to carry her away. Rescuers found another woman injured but alive under an overturned mobile home.

    The Lone Grove tornado was the third to cause multiple fatalities in the state since March 2007, when a Panhandle couple became the state's first tornado deaths in almost six years.

    The storm took many by surprise because even in tornado-prone Oklahoma, February twisters are rare. According to the weather service, 44 have touched down in the state during the month of February since 1950.

    Two other tornadoes hit the Oklahoma City metro area and in north-central Oklahoma late Tuesday. No serious injuries were reported in the Oklahoma City storm, but at least six homes were destroyed and businesses were damaged there, officials said.