The Norman Transcript

News Features

May 24, 2013

Family shelter saves 11 lives



The Horns lived at the house through a number of storms, including the May 3, 1999, tornado that grazed their property and sent them scrambling for shelter at the high school. The devastation around them convinced them to install an underground shelter. They huddled there in 2003 when another killer tornado came their way.

The house also gave Sally peace, with its scenic surroundings and close proximity to her business. When Ronnie died in January after a long illness, she couldn’t imagine moving from the home she had built and shared with him.

It was a good thing for her employees at Control Flow that she stayed.

n n n

Monday afternoon began typically for Jerry Mosley, the general manager at Control Flow. He’s been responsible for running the company for several years and has helped look after Sally since Ronnie’s death.

He was meeting with several coworkers — ironically discussing the need for an office television to monitor severe weather — when cell phones started to ring. Moments later, the shop hands showed up and Mosley started hearing reports of a nasty storm forming miles to the west.

“My wife called me and told me to get to the cellar right away,” he said. “I kept her on the line and told everyone we were going to Sally’s immediately.”

The typical tornado shelter is little more than a hole in the ground. It’s uncomfortable for anything more than a handful of people and far too small for the 10 people at Control Flow at the time.

But the Horns’ shelter is atypical. Preparing for exactly the type of catastrophe that came to her door Monday, Sally had a second shelter installed 14 years ago.

That decision saved lives.

“Some of the guys wanted to try and drive home as the storm was coming,” Mosley said. “We would have been scattered, and they would have ended up driving right into the tornado trying to get home. I told everyone they weren’t leaving and they had to get to Sally’s. If it wasn’t for her, none of us would have survived.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
News Features
  • March Against Monsanto Protesters rally against agro giant Monsanto

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Rain did not deter protesters at the March Against Monsanto in Bricktown on Saturday evening. A button on one man’s shirt was typical of the attitude of many of the marchers, “I’m one of those people,” it read....

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Moore Med Cent Groundbreaking Community still grieving but looking toward future, new beginnings

    MOORE — One year after an EF-5 tornado devastated a core area of Moore that included the Moore Medical Center, the community gathered on the site of the former hospital to reflect and remember those who were lost....

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple mourns loss of young lives

    When the tornado hit, Dennis and Wilma Chastain were holding hands. On May 20, 2013, the couple left their home in south Oklahoma City in Green Briar Estates near Westmoore High School around 2 p.m. to make it to a 2:30 appointment near ...

    May 20, 2014

  • Interfaith group invites women to join

    Women of a variety of faiths brought prayers and dinner and shared peaceful dialogue recently at a Norman home. Malaka Elyazgi’s prayer sounded like a song tripping off her lips in her native tongue. The translation was equally poetic....

    April 28, 2014

  • DUal-state advance Tough field awaits Southmoore at dual state

    Southmoore’s history at Dual State is a short read. The totality of it is a first-round loss to eventual runner-up Muskogee by one point in last year’s tournament.

    February 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Myths about obesity

    The obesity epidemic is among the most critical health issues facing the United States. Although it has generated a lot of attention and calls for solutions, it also has served up a super-sized portion of myths and misunderstandings....

    December 28, 2013

  • How to tame an out-of-control kid

    Edith, a retired Capitol Hill staffer from Washington, was at the end of her rope last year over the mayhem her 5-year-old great-grandson Wayne was causing at preschool. “I was on speed dial” at the school, says Edith, who is raising two ...

    December 28, 2013

  • Experts decry ‘resolution dependency’

    One of the country’s best-known fitness center chains is launching an initiative to wean people from what it calls an over-dependence on New Year’s resolutions....

    December 26, 2013

  • The 12 annoying songs of Christmas

    It’s that time of year, when Christmas songs fill shops, restaurants and your home. While anything on repeat can drive you mad, these 12 tunes are some of the most annoying....

    December 8, 2013

  • Caring for a cut Christmas tree

    Cut Christmas trees must be watered and kept hydrated to last through the holidays and to prevent them from becoming fire hazards. This includes small tabletop trees....

    December 8, 2013