Picher tornado accelerated plans to board up Superfund site

BY SHEILA STOGSDILL Published: May 10, 2009
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PICHER — One year after a tornado ripped through Picher, destroying one-third of an already dwindling Tar Creek community, a town official said there will be no memorial service or marker remembering the seven people who died that day.

"Most people are just trying to go on and put it behind them as quickly as possible,” said Tim Reeves, Picher mayor.

About 150 people were injured on May 10, 2008.

Those who died were:


• Samuel Don Berry, 20, Picher.


• Tracie Dawn Berry, 19, Picher.


• Darrell Edward Patterson II, 28, Wagoner.


• Chizuri Cox, 80, Picher.


• Mistie Dawn Kelley, 30, Picher.


• Linda Christine Mathis, 48, Picher.


• Margie Irene Seamands, 84, Picher, died of carbon monoxide poisoning while using a generator after the storm.

After the EF-4 tornado slammed into Picher, 20 blocks were destroyed. More than one survivor called Picher a "war zone.”

It was the deadliest in the state since May 3, 1999.

The mile-wide vortex traveled 92 miles and ended near Neosho, Mo.

A second tornado formed and merged with the first tornado just east of Quapaw, according to reports from the National Weather Service.


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