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Oklahoma tornadoes: Home shelter shields 14 from twister in Cole

Fourteen children and adults survived a tornado east of Cole in a home shelter. The home, which was ripped from its foundation, housed a day care.
BY DAVID ZIZZO dzizzo@opubco.com Modified: May 24, 2011 at 10:33 pm •  Published: May 24, 2011

Shelter was lifesaver

Several parents had picked up their children who attend a day care in the home, Mayo said. Mayo, Kelly Johnson's best friend since college, said she had gone by the house to help Johnson handle any children who remained.

Four children of day care workers were in the shelter. One adult suffered a minor cut on her neck, but no one else was hurt.

“That storm shelter was the best investment,” Zach Johnson said.

Johnson at first said the family's two Labradors were killed. “No,” Mayo said to Johnson's great relief, “Baxter's down there,” pointing down the road.

Baxter was found in a creek bed. He appeared to be in shock but with no apparent injuries. The other dog had not been found.

Stunned neighbors gathered along the road.

“All of a sudden we just heard this strong wind,” said Martha Fraire, who lives across the road in a mobile home with her husband, Paulino.

“We were just praying,” she said. The Fraires' trailer, along with others nearby, appeared undamaged.

Kevin Longacre, 50, said he was in a home across the street with his mother.

“I saw it coming, and I told Mama to get in the middle of the house,” he said. “I just started hearing that big, loud noise. It just went right over us.”


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