In the chaotic hours and days after the tornado Monday, rumors spread. Firsthand information became third-hand information, and facts were lost in translation. Misinformation was broadcast and printed. Here are six rumors you probably heard this week and the correct information.
1. Children at Plaza Towers Elementary drowned in the basement. Six died from being covered in debris. One died from blunt force trauma. The school did not have a basement. Briarwood Elementary did not have a basement either.
2. The students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades at Plaza Towers Elementary were evacuated to a nearby church before the storm hit. No students were taken outside. Parents could pick up their children until the sirens sounded, at which point everyone was told to stay in the school. After the children were rescued from the rubble, they were divided into two groups for reunification with their parents. Children in fourth, fifth and sixth grades were moved to a nearby church parking lot behind the school. Children in prekindergarten through third grade were reunited with family in front of the school.
3. The Moore Public Schools administration didn't meet about the storms until late Monday afternoon. Administrators discussed the impending weather during their weekly Monday morning meeting. The superintendent sent an email to district principals, reminding them to be prepared if something should happen. At 1 p.m., central office staff began watching weather coverage on multiple news channels and reached out to principals a second time.
4. The Red Cross is only helping those affected by storms in Moore. Teams have been dispatched in Carney, Bethel Acres, Little Axe, Newcastle, Norman, Oklahoma City and Shawnee. Volunteers have been in other communities, too.
5. The death toll was 51, and as many as 40 more bodies had yet to be identified. The total is 24. There was miscommunication immediately after the storm among law enforcement, funeral homes and the state medical examiner.
6. A dog stood guard at his owner's body until rescuers arrived. This story is partly true. An Oklahoma County sheriff's deputy found a collie mix guarding the body of a man killed in the tornado Monday. The deputy was able to coax the dog into his care, and he took the dog to an emergency animal shelter. The sheriff's office posted a photo of the dog standing guard, and it went viral. The sister of the dog's owner contacted them. Wednesday, the dog and her owner were reunited. No one knows how the dog ended up a half a mile from its home and why she stood sentinel at the body of a man she did not know.
Contributing: Staff Writer Julianna Keeping