Twister Tears Through Metro

Wednesday, February 11th 2009, 8:03 am
By: News 9

Staff and Wire Reports

EDMOND, Oklahoma -- Residents in Edmond and northwest Oklahoma City are beginning to assess damage from Tuesday's tornado.

The storm moved through the metro Tuesday afternoon tearing down power lines, blowing off roofs and destroying some homes.

At least six homes were destroyed in the Oak Tree area in Edmond.

North of Edmond, Logan County Emergency Management reports 20 homes were damaged - 16 are in the Oak Cliff Fire District and 4 are near the intersection of Highway 105 and Henney, east of Guthrie.

In northwest Oklahoma City, the twister apparently developed near Wiley Post Airport and then headed northeast before damaging several shopping centers and restaurants at a major intersection.

One wall of a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant collapsed, windows were blown out, and a piece of the eatery's awning was thrown into a tree alongside an adjacent restaurant. Signs were stripped and cars were damaged in the parking lot.

Oak Tree Damage

It then moved through the Boulder Ridge Apartments, a spread of two-story units surrounding a courtyard.

Shawn Tiesman, 33, moved to the apartment complex from Iowa about four months ago and got his first taste of Oklahoma's notorious weather but without the same protection of his former home.

"Where I'm from, we've got basements," Tiesman said. "I'm amazed that there's no basements here."

Instead, he invited his upstairs neighbors into his apartment and then used his futon mattress to barricade them into a walk-in closet. When he emerged, he couldn't believe the wreckage.

A large section of roof was blown off an apartment building and part of a wall was blown off another. One apartment had a gaping hole knocked in its side.

"It's just still going through my mind right now," resident Chad Ford said. "I just seen it, I just walked's still blurred, kind of."

Behind the complex, on Whitehall Drive, the home of Sondra Braggs was also damaged.

"You know, you hear about it and see it on TV, but you just don't know when it's going to happen to you," Braggs said. "It happened."

The Salvation Army OKC deployed two mobile feeding units near NW Expressway and Rockwell. Also, one mobile feeding unit was deployed to Perkins, where thousands were without power. Another Salvation Army Mobile Unit is located at the Lone Grove High School parking lot serving first responders and citizens. Several other units are on standby to be deployed wherever needed.

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department set up two teams of nurses in the areas affected by the tornado to give free tetanus shots to those people working to remove debris and assisting with cleanup efforts. Nurses will remain in the area as long as needed to offer tetanus immunizations.

Red Cross opened a shelter at Waterloo Road Baptist Church, 3100 E Waterloo Road. The shelter closed at 10 p.m. A second shelter was opened at Messiah Lutheran Church, 3600 NW Expressway in Oklahoma City. There is also shelter set up at Heritage Hall Center, on W Broadway, in downtown Ardmore.  

The Red Cross also has a "Safe and Well" online system that allows people to let others know they're safe. People can access "Safe and Well" online or call the Red Cross chapter in Oklahoma City at 405-228-9500.