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Owner of the Echo Canyon Resort and Spa outside Sulphur suspects debris is from tornado

by Bryan Painter Modified: February 14, 2009 at 8:08 am •  Published: February 14, 2009
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SULPHUR — Joe Van Horn thought the crashing noise he heard about 8 p.m. Tuesday was a car accident.

Try tornado debris falling from the sky.


Joe and his wife, Carol Van Horn, own and operate Echo Canyon Resort and Spa on 27 acres near Sulphur. He was working in the office at the resort’s mansion.

What fell? Debris which included roofing. Some of the debris was about 4 feet by 8 feet. Some of it was metal and some was plywood.

Also, Van Horn has about 20 square pieces of wallpaper with different patterns.

The different pieces of wallpaper are attached to plywood, a couple of pieces with drywall.

Where does Van Horn think it came from?

He thinks it might have come from the tornado that hit Lone Grove and near Ardmore. Lone Grove and Sulphur are about 30 miles apart.

That’s why Van Horn called Mike Foster, meteorologist in charge with the National Weather Service’s Norman Forecast office.

Van Horn saw a story where Foster said he couldn’t find signs of the roofs of some Lone Grove homes while assessing the damage.

"It just started raining debris,” Van Horn said.

Foster said that while he saw a lot of debris on the ground, there’s also a lot that’s "getting picked up and pulled up into the storm.”

One of the things Foster and Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service, noticed was that the roofs were missing on four houses they looked at in Lone Grove.

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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