Storm Debris Remains Piled High Along Private Road In El Reno

Sunday, July 7th 2013, 6:12 pm
By: News 9

The deadly EF5 tornado that hit central Oklahoma left behind a trail of devastation. For some people in El Reno, the cleanup process has stalled, leaving them with a daily reminder of that frightful day.

If you look down Tiffany Lane in rural Canadian County, all you will see are piles and piles of debris.

"It's awful. It's a horrible feeling," said Amy Ortiz, a resident of Tiffany Lane. "You don't know until it happens." 

But now, Ortiz says she knows what devastation is after the May 31 tornado damaged her home and destroyed some of her neighbors' homes. Remnants of those homes remain along the roadway, even a month later.

"We can't get past it. How are you supposed to get past it, you know, in your ditches, your neighbors' homes?"

The twister turned those homes into piles of rubble in a matter of seconds. Ortiz and her neighbors have worked to move the debris to the curb, hoping the trash would be picked up. They're still waiting.

"I've been working every day, seven days a week, trying to do something to better the place," said Chester Truelove, a Tiffany Lane resident for 27 years.

Truelove's home sustained some damage. He also lost 18 trees and a fence.

"I go to bed every night at 6 o'clock because I work every day," he said.

But still, the debris remains because Tiffany Lane is considered a private road. That means the county doesn't maintain it and can't pick up the debris.

Canadian County Commissioner Jack Stewart tells News 9 he knows about the problem Tiffany Lane residents are facing and is working to get them help. The county is meeting with FEMA this week to look into hiring a private contractor to pick up all the debris.

Stewart also urges victims to get registered with FEMA at the Jenks Simmons Field House in El Reno. The deadline is July 18.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak is holding a series of educational forums for storm victims.

The forums are scheduled from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the following locations:

July 9th: Moore, Community Christian Church

July 16th: El Reno, El Reno High School