8 twisters: big storms, small toll

By Bryan Dean and Michael Kimball Modified: May 25, 2008 at 3:53 pm •  Published: May 25, 2008
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One of two tornadoes near Lacey destroyed several buildings at Seaboard Foods Farm No. 62, a pig farm.

John Hardaway, production manager with Seaboard Foods, said the six of the farm’s eight barns were completely destroyed and the other two were heavily damaged.

Many smaller buildings and sheds, including a water storage building, were also destroyed.

Several employees were at the farm when the tornado hit, Hennessey Fire Chief Bert Gritz said.

“There were some employees that got in the office and they were hunkered down in the showers,” Gritz said. “It blew some windows out, but they are all OK.”

The farm houses 3,900 sows and their piglets, most of which escaped unharmed, Hardaway said. The barns fell down around them, but the animals were kept in crates that generally withstood the storm.

“The crates actually protected them somewhat,” Hardaway said. “The majority will actually be fine.”

There were some pig carcasses in the area.

Hardaway said the company’s first priority is to remove debris. Construction crews were already on the site a couple of hours after the storm hit. Over the next couple of days workers will bring in water and shade until they can move the animals to another farm. Gritz and Ooten said no injuries were reported from the storm.

“There was an abandoned farm house and a barn that got hit about eight miles west and two miles north of Hennessey, but it hadn’t been lived in for several years,” Gritz said.

Damage was also reported to a grain elevator on Highway 132 in far northwest Kingfisher County, Ooten said.

Weather Advisories

A severe thunderstorm watch remains in effect until 4 a.m. for Beckham, Caddo, Comanche, Cotton, Custer, Grady, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills, Tillman and Washita counties.

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