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Oklahoma tornadoes: Companies offer equipment, workers to help with storm cleanup

Some firms donate services while others contribute part of their demolition fees to help with Oklahoma storm cleanup.
by Brianna Bailey Modified: May 30, 2013 at 9:57 pm •  Published: May 31, 2013

Roving street to street, volunteer demolition crews have begun clearing debris from the May 20 tornado.

Volunteers from the Oklahoma City-based oil-field services company Crescent Services were in Moore this week bulldozing the remnants of structures that sustained heavy damage in the storm and moving debris out to the curb.

“It looks awful — devastating,” said Todd Harger, a manager for Crescent Services' Fairview office who visited Moore this week to help clear debris. “I feel sorry for those people — they have lost everything.”

Harger and his crew took a skid-steer loader to Moore on Wednesday and a rented a bulldozer to clear wood, drywall and other debris from ruined homes.

Harger and other Crescent Services employees helped with debris removal through the group Serve Moore, a coalition of churches helping coordinate volunteer efforts in the area.

“This is just a small part of what we are doing,” said Rex Barrett, pastor for Frontline Church's downtown Oklahoma City congregation, who has been coordinating volunteer efforts for Serve Moore. “We're working with the city of Moore to mobilize thousands of volunteers to clean debris.”

While some businesses have donated heavy equipment and chain saws, more bulldozers and heavy machinery will be needed in the city in the coming weeks as people settle insurance claims for damaged structures and are able to clear their property, Barrett said.

Curbside service

The city of Moore has contracted with Moore-based Silver Star Construction Co. for curbside debris pickups in affected areas, which began this week.

The cleanup efforts have also drawn contractors and cleanup crews from across the region to volunteer as well as make money.

Eugene Frye, owner of Kansas City-based Frye Construction Co. Inc., is staying at a local church with a crew of four workers to help with demolition and cleanup efforts.

Working through the National Association of Christian Churches, Frye donates a third of the fees he takes in for demolishing tornado-ravaged homes to local churches. But for the uninsured, Frye will clear their property for free.

Frye is donating used appliances that are still in good condition and other household goods he finds during the cleanup efforts to Oklahoma City Restoration Church.

“We could be here for two or three months — however long it takes,” he said.