The Norman Transcript

Headlines

May 26, 2013

Couple’s rescue immortalized in pictures

NORMAN — MOORE - When the tornado hit the Cleveland County community on Monday, Dennis and Wilma Chastain were holding hands.

The Chastains, who will celebrate 57 years of marriage in August, did not expect photos of their rescue from the rubble to be on the front page of The Transcript Tuesday and splattered across the nation via news outlets and the Internet.

“We had gone to our doctor’s office,” Dennis said Saturday. “I had just checked the weather.”

The couple left their home in south Oklahoma City in Green Briar Estates near Westmoore High School around 2 p.m. to make a 2:30 appointment near Moore Medical Center.

Shortly after their arrival at the clinic, a woman asked everyone to move inside the exam rooms, away from the windows. People huddled down and staff passed out pillows to cover their heads.

The couple sat on the floor, holding hands.

“It was very scary to me — just the idea,” Wilma said. “You’ve seen the aftermath so many times.”

Dennis wasn’t concerned at first. In 78 years of living in Oklahoma, he’s never seen a tornado.

The sound came first, like a loud wind.

“I saw the roof lift up and fly away,” he said. “And then the wall fell in.”

At that time, Wilma’s world went black.

“Something fell on my shoulder,” she said. “There was no air, and someone said breathe. I thought, ‘am I breathing?’ I couldn’t move.”

Wilma felt like she was sucking air through a straw.

Dennis said the air was thick with dirt that filled their ears and covered their clothing.

The couple were pulled apart when the tornado hit, but Wilma could hear people talking.

A first respnder helped Dennis get the chair off his lower body, and he was able to crawl out of the rubble. He was walking, dazed and confused, blood dripping down the side of his head when Transcript photographer Kyle Phillips captured the photo that appeared on the paper’s front page.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Coaches Luncheon Mixon question off-limits at coaches luncheon

    Toby Rowland addressed the elephant in the room even before Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel arrived Wednesday at Journey Church....

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mixon will not participate in practice

    Preseason practice begins for Oklahoma today. Freshman running back Joe Mixon will not be there. The school announced the decision Wednesday night....

    July 31, 2014

  • Nova Pettigrew Music community bands together to raise money for 2-year-old’s battle with rare form of cancer

    Two-year old Nova Pettigrew was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer six weeks ago. Her father, former Deli sound technician and musician James Pettigrew, noticed something was wrong when running turned to walking, then limping, then ...

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Deputies cleared, return to work

    Two deputies involved in a deadly shooting earlier this month are expected to return to work today after being cleared by the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office. “They (the Sheriff’s Office) gave me their investigation, I ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Sales tax-free weekend set to begin this weekend

    When stores open Friday morning, shoppers may be waiting. Oklahoma’s annual sales tax holiday is slated to run this weekend with the special exemption beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and ending at midnight on Sunday....

    July 31, 2014

  • India landslide kills 21

    NEW DELHI — Rescuers worked in rain today to dig through a remote village in western India where at least 21 people died as a landslide swept away scores of houses, possibly trapping many more people under debris, officials said....

    July 31, 2014

  • Israeli strike hits UN school

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli artillery shells tore through the walls of a U.N. school crowded with sleeping war refugees and back-to-back explosions rocked a market filled with shoppers Wednesday as Israel’s stepped up campaign against ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Busted water main dumps 20 million gallons of water into UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion and adjacent garage

    LOS ANGELES — The rupture of a nearly century-old water main that ripped a 15-foot hole through Sunset Boulevard and turned a swath of the University of California, Los Angeles into a mucky mess points to the risks and expense many cities ...

    July 31, 2014

  • GOP-led House gives go-ahead for suit

    WASHINGTON — A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Just a day before ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Randall Lee Sherrill, 34, possession of juvenile pornography · Dewey Leon Kinsey, 37, possession of controlled dangerous ...

    July 31, 2014