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Cleanup, mourning continue in Oklahoma

BY JOHNNY JOHNSON Modified: February 13, 2009 at 2:11 pm •  Published: February 13, 2009
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/articleid/3345574/1/pictures/541798">Photo - A large oak tree is seen damaged in the Majestic Hills neighborhood north of Ardmore on Thursday.  PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OKLAHOMAN
A large oak tree is seen damaged in the Majestic Hills neighborhood north of Ardmore on Thursday. PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OKLAHOMAN
"It sounded like 1,000 trains. The whole shelter shook, and it felt like it was going to rip us right out of the ground.”

And everyone in the shelter knew at that moment, that when they opened that shelter door, nothing would be left.

"This is the monster that comes in the night,” he said. "We knew we had lost everything. It was the most awesome, violent power we had ever seen, but we also knew there was a greater power that kept it from killing us. Everything else is just material.”

School razed
Down the road, officials with Ardmore Adventist Academy, a Seventh-day Adventist private school, lost their school building.

School treasurer Darvin Hartzo said the school of 17 students was gone, but school officials wasted no time getting their flagpole back in place to fly the American flag as a symbol of hope.

"Our school is gone, but we’re not going to let the small stuff bother us,” he said. "We’ll use the church hall until we find a better solution, but we will prevail. Our kids are ready to start over and most importantly, no one was hurt. We’ll come out of this.”

The school’s pecan orchard isn’t salvageable, though.

"We lost all of our pecan trees, and that’s hard because we made a nice profit from those pecans every year for the school,” he said. "Now we don’t have anything except firewood.”

Ardmore 911 calls about Lone Grove Ardmore 911 calls about Lone Grove Ardmore 911 calls about Lone Grove
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MAP: Flash map of the tornado's path. The tornado's path

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