Entries in Moore Tornado (2)


Okla. Animals Taken to Chicago No-Kill Shelter

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- After seeing the staggering devastation in Oklahoma City area from a mile-wide tornado, one Chicago animal shelter decided to try and help the region by helping out the smallest and furriest residents.

More than 300 volunteers from the PAWS Chicago Animal Shelter brought 75 dogs and cats that were at risk to be euthanized at the crowded Oklahoma City Animal Care and Control Center to a no-kill shelter in Chicago.

The Oklahoma City Animal Care and Control Center had been overwhelmed when more than 150 lost and displaced pets were brought in following the storm. By taking the dogs and cats already at the shelter, the PAWS volunteers were able to create more room at the center and hopefully allow owners to be reunited with their pets who were lost during the storm.

“One of the most emotional moments was the fact that the shelter director [said] ‘You’re giving us hope and giving my team hope,” Rochelle Michalek, executive director for PAWS Chicago, told “It’s brought a smile to everyone’s face.”

Michalek said hundreds of volunteers assisted first by driving down 850 miles on Friday to Oklahoma City. Volunteers then packed up the animals for transport in just a few hours before making the return trip. After arriving back in Chicago around 2 a.m. on Saturday, the animals started receiving medical treatment a few hours later.

“It’s been such an emotional few days,” said Michalek. “Just seeing the devastation that this area has witnessed [and] loading [the animals] in the vans and receiving them at 2 a.m. [in Chicago.]”

The animals brought to the shelter include beagles, tabby cats and Labradors among others and all that don’t need additional medical attention are available to adopt.

While most of the animals were already in the shelter before the storm hit, Michalek said one woman had to give up her six dogs because she was not able to take care of them in the storm’s aftermath. A few of the dogs needed medical treatment after being injured in the tornado.

“Just imagine in the morning  you were getting ready for work, and getting your kids to school [but] by the evening your life is destroyed and everything you know and love is gone,” said Michalek. “The emotional trauma is [overwhelming.]”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Oklahoma Teacher Records Moment of Tornado Impact

Benjamin Krain/Getty Images(MOORE, Okla.) -- Cellphone video recorded by an Oklahoma teacher at Briarwood Elementary School shows the exact moment an E-F5 tornado tore through the building as she attempted to calm students' fears by telling them, "It's almost over."

Robin Dziedzic, a fifth-grade teacher at the school, huddled with students in a darkened bathroom Monday afternoon as the monstrous twister tore through Moore, Okla.

"This is where we walked down and I was right here," Dziedzic said, pointing to the bathroom. "There were about 25 girls and several teachers."

Students held on to each other as the devastating tornado ripped the roof from the building and brought down walls.

"Oh, my God, I hate this. I hate this," a student says.

"It's almost over. It's almost over. Oh, my God," Dziedzic can be heard saying to the student.

After the tornado passed, teachers and students emerged to survey the devastation and see what was left of their school a few days before their summer vacation was set to begin.

The teachers and students at Briarwood were considered fortunate compared to Plaza Towers Elementary School, where seven children were killed, according to the medical examiner's office. The cause of death for six of the seven children was "asphyxia" after being smothered by falling debris, the medical examiner's office said Wednesday in a report.

One of those children from Plaza Towers Elementary School was 9-year-old Antonia Candelaria, who will be the first victim laid to rest Thursday.

Authorities also released the names of 23 of the 24 people confirmed dead, ranging in age from 4 months to 65.

Gov. Mary Fallin's office said Wednesday evening that everyone has been accounted for and a total of 353 people sustained injures from the twister.

In the small town of Moore, where few people were sparred grief, the stories of survival are endless. While some hunkered down in a school bathroom or in a bank vault, others took shelter in their homes.

Sarah and Shane Patterson saved and struggled to buy their home in Moore three years ago, which was taken away in seconds by winds estimated at more than 200 mph. As Sarah Patterson toured the devastation, she found the shoes she was wearing when the tornado hit.

"It took them off my feet. The suction in the house pulled them off my feet," she said.

A few mementos of her childhood were left behind such as doll.

"It's a doll my great-grandmother made me when I was a baby," she said. "My mom would be happy to know it's here."

Along with the doll, Patterson was able to salvage a few pictures of her sons -- 9-year-old Lucas and 7-year-old Noah -- who huddled underneath a mattress in the home and prayed as the twister roared through.

"I was praying as hard as I could. And my boys, I said, 'Pray, guys. Just pray,'" Patterson said. "I don't know how we made it."

The Pattersons say they will rebuild in Moore, but with one major addition, a safe room.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio