The Norman Transcript

Moore Strong - Six month later

November 20, 2013

First responders relive harrowing day

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Following the storm, Lewis remembered the chaos that ensued for about eight to nine hours. He remembered not really realizing the scope of the disaster because power was out and TVs were off. A note of disbelief can still be heard in his voice when he talks about how much destruction the massive tornado caused.

“Right after it was very difficult to get around and grasp what all is affected,” he said. “It’s hard to comprehend that it’s so large. So that was probably the toughest part right off, just the amount of area (it affected).”

The police department didn’t realize just how bad it was until they started seeing the images on TV, he said.

“We had guys hollering for help all over the city,” Lewis said. “You go through one area and think this area is really, really bad and then you go through another area on the other side of the city and it’s even worse.”

Moore has had large tornadoes in the past, but this was different than any of those they had dealt with before, he said. This one traveled through the entire city. Lewis said it also was more difficult for a lot of officers as well, seeing much of the city they are in everyday destroyed.

“I would say this affected our department differently than any disaster we’ve had so far just because it was so tragic and the amount of devastation to our entire city was just so more significant than the storms in the past,” Lewis said.

“Just by nature our whole goal is to protect people, especially children, and when you have children who perish and there’s absolutely nothing you can do, you feel kinda helpless,” he said. “That gets to guys and it did. You know, we had guys there that were having to dig the kids out and not finding them alive, it affects guys.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Moore Strong - Six month later
  • tornadomom2.jpg Mom: ‘Twister’ baby healthy, happy

    MOORE — For most Oklahoma residents Nov. 20 marks the somber six-month anniversary of the EF-5 tornado that tore through Moore. But for one mother, the date symbolizes new life....

    November 24, 2013 2 Photos

  • duck.JPG Tornado duck to face winter alone

    MOORE — Some residents are worried about a feathered tornado survivor who is struggling with the falling temperatures....

    November 24, 2013 1 Photo

  • Moore Tornado First responders relive harrowing day

    As the holiday season approaches and thoughts of food and family are on many people’s minds, it’s almost hard to believe there was so much chaos and heartbreak in Moore just six months ago. But the city continues to push on.

    Click here for more stories from our special section remembering the six-month anniversary of the May 20 tornado.

    November 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • Moore Tornado Revisiting the path of destruction

    MOORE — Driving down 19th Street in Moore, people who have never visited the city may have a hard time seeing how much the city has changed in the last six months. From the I-35 exit going south, thriving businesses can be seen....

    November 20, 2013 2 Photos

  • warrenafter Warren Theatre larger than life survivor of storm

    MOORE — The sirens went off in Moore around 2:30 p.m., Pat Murphy, general manager of Warren Theatre remembered. “We got everybody out of the theaters and put them into the hallways,” Murphy said. Theater records indicated 200 tickets ...

    November 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • Moore Schools, Ad Valorem-Superintendent Robert Romines Moore Schools hopeful as ad valorem statements approach

    MOORE — Moore Public School officials remain hopeful that the school system won’t suffer from a loss of property tax after the devastating May 2013 tornado. In fact, current figures suggest that Moore schools may benefit from a growth from ...

    November 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • Business coming back ‘stronger and better’

    When Jerry Mosley looks out the window of his small office in a cramped trailer that is now Control Flow Inc.’s Oklahoma headquarters, he can see clearly the pieces of the horrific past that forced him into the temporary lodging....

    November 20, 2013

  • As Moore rebuilds, survivors still face loss

    MOORE — Six months after the May 20 tornado, Moore is rebuilding at a rapid pace. However, for many who lost everything in the storm recovery is an uphill battle....

    November 20, 2013

  • Cars In Moore Medical Center Moore Medical Center executive recounts whirlwind first week on the job

    MOORE — Richie Splitt started work as Moore Medical Center’s top executive on May 13. Seven days later on May 20, an EF-5 tornado destroyed the Moore facility along with the cars of every Moore Medical employee and doctor who was at the ...

    November 20, 2013 3 Photos

  • Moore Tornado Moore city manager said business is starting to return to normal

    MOORE — The view from Steve Eddy’s office is quite impressive. As far as the eye can see, there are blue skies overlooking a crisp November morning. Cars just a few feet away rush to their destinations. And business around city hall seems ...

    November 20, 2013 2 Photos

Online Features from the May tornado
Facebook