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May 21, 2013

‘This is it. This is my life’

MOORE — In the aftermath of a violent tornado ripping through Moore, residents are shocked, dazed and resolute.

For May 3, 1999, tornado survivor Anita Acosta Monday’s experience was all too familiar.

“You could see the debris. It started getting black, you could just see it all coming, like a big old thundering train coming, and I thought, ‘Oh my god. I’ve got to shut the door,’” she said. “And all of a sudden it was like roaring thunder, you could hear something break and it was just shaking. I was sitting on the floor and the whole house was shifting. I was like, ‘Oh my god. I’m going. This is it.’ I was like, ‘OK. This is it. This is it. This is my life.’”

Acosta’s house on 149th Street was left standing, but the tornado still left its mark.

“Debris everywhere, but my daughter, she works for Plaza Towers Elementary and they got fatalities over there. She’s OK,” she said. “And then my son’s house is damaged, that’s why we’re going over there. Half his house is gone.”

Plaza Towers teacher assistant Kelly Law said children at the school, located at 852 SW 11th St., took cover with staff inside the main hallways and bathrooms.

“It sounded like somebody was going through with a mower and hitting a tin roof ... I had my eyes shut, all of us teachers were covering as many heads as we could,” Law said.

OU Medical Center received about 85 patients of various ages, including 20 adults and 65 children in trauma rooms. The injuries range from minor to critical. Integris Southwest and Norman hospitals also reported treating children.

After hearing reports that Plaza Towers was one of the worst areas hit, Trina Kinsfather rushed to the area to check on the welfare of her son Brandon, a sixth-grader at the school.

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