No Headline

Oklahoman Modified: May 21, 2013 at 1:34 pm •  Published: May 22, 2013

MOORE — An eerie silence settled over the destruction in Moore on Tuesday as National Guard troops and law enforcement officers blocked people from entering the tornado debris zone so search teams could do their jobs.

Meanwhile, in south Oklahoma City, police began letting residents return to their homes so they could see what is left.

Tales of terror and heroism continued to emerge Tuesday.

Amber Harris, 31, said she rushed to Moore's Plaza Towers Elementary School just minutes before the tornado struck, gathered up 10 children and took them to a storm shelter.

“I told the kids before we got out that we're a strong family and if we lose our home, we're going to make it,” Harris said, adding that five of the children were her own, three were her foster children and two were children of her best friend.

Harris said her home was badly damaged.

“Right now, I'm devastated. It's just so much to take in — trying to be strong for my family,” she said. “Our kids will be pretty hurt by the time they realize what's going on. We have to deal with it one day at a time.”

Second-grade teacher Annette Brown was with schoolchildren in the rest room and hallways of Briarwood Elementary School for about 20 minutes Monday before the ceiling collapsed, pinning them to the ground.

Metal beams and cinder blocks crushed her. She held the hand of her son — a student at the school — the whole time, despite losing feeling in her arms. She said her thoughts were on the children and keeping them calm.

“I thought we were going to die,” Brown said.

She said the children were “surprisingly calm.” First responders pulled them from the rubble.

“I'm just thankful that we made it,” she said. “We had guardian angels for sure. There's no way we could've made it without guardian angels.”

The state medical examiner's office Tuesday morning reported a reduced death toll of 24 from Monday's tornado, noting confusion during the early aftermath of the disaster.

Spokeswoman Amy Elliott said 51 deaths were reported at one point Monday.

The 24 deceased victims were taken to the medical examiner's Oklahoma City office, and most have been identified, she said.

Emergency Medical Services Authority ambulances took numerous victims to hospitals Monday, spokeswoman Lara O'Leary said.

“They took them to the hospital and then came back to pick up some more,” O'Leary said. “It took many hours. Some of our paramedics walked to get closer. It was an amazing effort from a lot of people.”

Sadly, some children in Moore who could not be saved were brought to paramedics, she said.

O'Leary said 48 ambulances were used during the rescue efforts.

OU Medical Center and Children's Hospital are reporting 85 patients admitted; 50 of them are children. Their conditions range from minor injuries to critical.

At the three metro St. Anthony hospitals, 32 patients were treated and released and three patients were transferred to OU Medical Center and Children's Hospital.

Integris Health Southwest Medical Center reported treating 90 patients and admitting 20. Ten of the victims were in critical condition and 10 were listed as serious. Five children were treated and released.

A 65-year-old man died Tuesday when he was running to a shelter and hit his head, said Brooke Cayot, Integris Health spokeswoman.

Related Coverage

  • Moore school district continues to rebuild, expand

    By Josh Wallace, Staff Writer | Published: Sat, Jul 19, 2014

    Moore Public Schools is wrapping up several reconstruction projects and continuing plans to open new campuses.

  • Oklahoma Watch: Rebuilding after disasters takes time, money

    By Clifton Adcock, Oklahoma Watch | Published: Mon, Jul 14, 2014

    Oklahoma Watch: Public assistance after devastating weather strikes can take long time to complete

  • At a glance: Top recipients of public assistance after Oklahoma storms

    Published: Mon, Jul 14, 2014

    Of the $42 million in public assistance awarded by early June by FEMA, Moore and Oklahoma City had received the largest amounts. More applications are pending.

  • Oklahoma Watch: State's residents still are rebuilding after storms

    By Clifton Adcock, Oklahoma Watch | Published: Sun, Jul 13, 2014

    Oklahoma Watch: Severe weather in 2013 leads to $257 million in disaster assistance funds for Oklahomans.

  • At a glance: Flow of aid

    Published: Sun, Jul 13, 2014

    AT A GLANCE The flow of government aid UP TO $276.4M* Total federal and state aid: Federal Emergency Management Agency $60.7 million in cash aid Details: Public assistance Total amount awarded: $41.7 million Total applicants: 109 Total projects submitted: 693 Awarded: 538...

  • Volunteers build playground at Moore's Briarwood Elementary School

    By Silas Allen, Staff Writer | Published: Sun, Jul 13, 2014

    Taking a break from spreading mulch Saturday afternoon, Moore schools Superintendent Robert Romines marveled at the number of people working alongside him. All around him, about 300 people were hard at work building a playground at the new Briarwood Elementary School.

  • Oklahoma religion briefs

    Updated: Fri, Jul 11, 2014

    Religion briefs for July 12.

  • Faith-based group gives Oklahoma tornado survivors Bible and keys to debt-free home

    From Staff Reports | Published: Sat, Jul 5, 2014

    The Hopkins family of Newalla, who survived Oklahoma tornadoes in 2013, received a new home from Samaritan’s Purse, a disaster relief organization founded by Franklin Graham.

  • Group files second Oklahoma storm shelter petition

    BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | Published: Wed, Jul 2, 2014

    A group that wants to build storm shelters in every public school in Oklahoma has begun collecting signatures to place an initiative petition on a statewide ballot. Tim Farley, spokesman for Take Shelter Oklahoma, says organizers began collecting signatures Wednesday. They must collect the...

  • Norman contractor faces embezzlement charges

    By Brianna Bailey, Business Writer | Published: Wed, Jun 11, 2014

    Officials say construction company owner never completed work on homes damaged in Moore tornado.

  • Civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson backs initiative to fund storm shelters in Oklahoma schools

    By Kyle Fredrickson, Staff Writer | Updated: Wed, Jun 4, 2014

    Jackson, state political leaders and the families of May 20, 2013, tornado victims gathered Wednesday at Plaza Towers Elementary School to announce a renewed push for a petition initiative that would provide a $500 million bond to fund storm shelters in state public schools.

  • Oklahoma school shelter advocates launch new petition

    Published: Wed, Jun 4, 2014

    MOORE (AP) — A new initiative petition drive has been launched by an organization that supports building storm shelters in every Oklahoma public school. Organizers of Take Shelter Oklahoma gathered with civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson Wednesday at the site of the Plaza Towers...

  • Oklahoma business briefs for June 3

    Updated: Mon, Jun 2, 2014

    Oklahoma business briefs for June 3, 2014

  • Moore tornado documentary extended to Thursday at Warren Theatre

    From Staff Reports | Published: Sat, May 31, 2014

    The Moore tornado documentary “Where Was God?” will enjoy an extended run through June 5 at the Warren Theatre in Moore.

  • KFOR: Softball coach rallies team after player dies in tornado

    Published: Thu, May 22, 2014

    MOORE -- Landon McNeill may look intimidating, says KFOR, but his softball team says "Coach Landon" is a just big teddy bear with an even bigger heart. Last spring Landon, his players and their families suffered a heartbreaking loss May 20th when shortstop, 9-year-old Sydney Angle was among the 7...

  • Oklahoma House defeats Oklahoma school shelter plan

    Published: Thu, May 22, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma House has soundly rejected a plan supported by Gov. Mary Fallin to help school districts pay for safety upgrades like storm shelters and safe rooms. The House Thursday voted 61-34 against the measure that calls for a statewide vote of the people to give...

  • Parents of Plaza Towers tornado victims seeking damages from Moore, school district

    By Jennifer Palmer, Staff Writer | Updated: Thu, May 22, 2014

    Tort claims were filed on behalf of six of the children who died May 20, 2013, inside Plaza Towers Elementary during a deadly tornado that struck Moore, an Oklahoma City suburb.

  • Oklahoma tornadoes: No shelter from the storm

    Juliana Keeping | Updated: Wed, May 21, 2014

    A year after deadly tornadoes struck Oklahoma, the debate continues over how to fund school shelters.

  • Oklahoma's Latino community prepares for the next tornado

    Published: Tue, May 20, 2014

    A devastating EF-5 tornado ripped through Moore, Okla., a year ago last May 20, says NPR. Just 11 days later, another twister ravaged the Oklahoma City metro area. Nine of the 23 people who died as a result of the second storm were members of the local Latino community. Their deaths have sparked...

  • Hospital groundbreaking scheduled Tuesday in Moore

    BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | Published: Tue, May 20, 2014

    MOORE — The city of Moore is holding a remembrance ceremony to mark the one-year anniversary of a deadly EF5 twister that killed 24 people and injured hundreds more. Gov. Mary Fallin and Moore city officials will break ground Tuesday on the new Moore Medical Center at a 10 a.m. event. The...

Related Multimedia

Related Articles

Trending Now


  1. 1
    Report: TCU star Devonte Fields a suspect in domestic disturbance call
  2. 2
    Gary Williams thinks Kevin Durant will settle down in Washington D.C. area one day
  3. 3
    Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher explains why Jameis Winston went unpunished
  4. 4
    Former Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein joins Wildcats football staff
  5. 5
    Native American tribe cancels Ted Nugent show, cites 'racist' views
+ show more