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After Edmond storm, the work begins

BY DIANA BALDWIN and JOHN WILLIAMS Published: February 12, 2009
EDMOND — When Crystal Routz left work Tuesday, she knew a tornado had passed through Edmond. The Oak Tree housing addition resident said she didn’t figure her house was in the path of the storm.

But Routz’s plans for dinner with the kids, homework and an early bedtime were dashed when she arrived home and found a scene of destruction.

Hours after the storm, Routz, 37, was frantically moving clothing out of her closet, boxing up photographs and carrying valuables to rooms that weren’t as severely damaged by the storm.

Several neighbors helped her while her father-in-law was on the phone trying to reach an insurance adjuster. Her husband, Ben, was out of town Tuesday, but was on his way to their home at 5608 Irvine Drive.

"The bright side in all of this is that no one was home,” Routz said. "Everything in this house is replaceable but my family.”

Taking shelter
Next door to Routz, neighbor Jeanette Penhall lost most of the roof on her house. She left her home about 6 p.m., taking shelter under an umbrella as rain continued to pour down on the inside of her house.

Penhall, 51, was home when the storm hit. She wasn’t injured because she was hiding under a mattress in the hallway.

"It happened so fast,” Penhall said. "I heard the wind and then it was over. I knew it was coming my way, but I never thought it would hit my house.”

In other parts of the city, rescuers worked to free people trapped by storm debris, said Matt Stillwell, Edmond emergency management director.

Workers freed a group of people from a storm shelter at a horse farm, and a man and woman pinned at shelters were freed, Stillwell said.

Emergency crews spent hours going through neighborhoods looking for victims.

Passing close
The twister passed close to Edmond’s Mitch Park, damaging several homes in Kanaly’s North Country neighborhood north of Covell Road and Santa Fe Avenue.

Addition resident Lisa Brady said she took cover when she heard the first warning sirens.

"I went in my bedroom closet with my dogs,” she said.


• The mid-afternoon tornado carved a path of destruction several miles long from northwest Oklahoma City into west and north Edmond.

• No serious injuries were reported in Edmond.

• Six homes were damaged or destroyed in Edmond and several businesses reported damage.

• The storm downed power lines throughout Edmond, blocking streets and leaving residents without electricity. At one point Tuesday, 1,700 homes were without electricity. By Wednesday morning most homes had power restored, officials said.


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