The Norman Transcript

News Features

May 23, 2013

More shelters in forecast

MOORE — Ten children are dead, and Mayor Glenn Lewis wants tornado shelters included in all new homes built in Moore. A proposed municipal ordinance would require a shelter either inside or outside.

“We haven’t talked about this,” Lewis said “We don’t want it to be so expensive that our homes aren’t affordable.”

Lewis said he believes most people will rebuild with a storm shelter. New schools have been built with safe rooms, he said. Moore’s Kelly Elementary was one of the first in the nation to have a safe room.

“When you walk in there, it’s one of the hallways,” Lewis said.

Monday’s tornado, which killed two dozen people, affected 33,000 others and about 12,600 homes. It caused between $1.5 and $2 billion in damages in Moore and south Oklahoma City, according to Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.

“We built six new schools in Oklahoma City, and they all have safe rooms,” Cornett said.

Pres. Obama is expected to tour the tornado ravaged community Sunday. Wednesday, his Homeland Security secretary, Janet Napolitano, visited Moore with FEMA Director Rich Serino and several state and local officials.

Amy Elliott, public information officer for the state Medical Examiner said 23 of the 24 victims have been identified, and families may claim the bodies.

“The examinations have been completed, and they are ready to be released,” Elliott said. She asked for family members to call 405-239-7141 to claim their loved ones.

Elliott said five of the school children died in the Plaza Towers Elementary School of mechanical asphyxia.

That means they likely were trapped under the heavy weight of rubble that did not allow them to breathe.

“There’s no case of death by drowning,” Elliott said, referring to early reports about the school.

Six adults are still presumed missing but may have just walked off, officials said. They are asking residents in the impacted areas to make contact with loved ones.

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