Roaring Monster Leaves Little Loved Ones Hold Fast in Basement Refuge

David Zizzo Published: May 4, 1999
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MOORE - As the monster roared overhead, sweeping cars from the driveway and churning the house into a swirl of splintered timbers and brick, air was sucked from the basement. Dust fell onto the family and friends huddled there.

"I hugged my daughter for dear life," a pregnant Jacqueline Sivard said, still shaking as she recalled Monday's tornado.

Sivard, her daughter, Taylor, 6, her husband, Rod, and the family's dog had just survived along with 10 other people, and other loved ones, in the basement of a home at 3300 N Eastern. Stephanie Puckett had brought Dodger and Steeler to this refuge.

"I said, 'I'm not leaving my dogs,'" she said. "They're like family."

She recalled most of those gathered at the home as the storm approached took cover downstairs when power transformers began bursting west of the neighborhood. A few minutes later, the men, convinced of the danger, joined them.

"You know when the guys come in there's trouble," Puckett said.

Puckett recalled the sound "was terrible. We just hit the floor. You can't imagine at all what's going over your head."

Minutes later, the home owned by Geraldine Percival was hardly there. The homeowner's son, who had been playing golf, discovered the people, including a neighbor 96 years old, were trapped in the basement.

Neighbors like James Dunn, who ran a quarter mile to check on the residents, joined others tugging at debris for about 90 minutes after the storm passed the home. One by one those trapped in the basement emerged into the damp, dark evening, happy to be alive.


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