Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Moore residents take stock of what's left

MOORE, Okla. — A hot pink magnet. A Def Leppard concert T-shirt. Scatched-up TV remotes. Her grandmother's gold watch.

That's about all Ann Friess could salvage Tuesday from the mud and muck that had been her single-story home. It's now a pile of rubble, broken wood beams and bricks on a concrete slab.

After the deadly storm on Monday, she saw strangers sifting through what was left of her residence, not sure if they were helpers, curiosity seekers or looters.

"We don't even have anything," she said in an exasperated tone. "Why would you want to take what little we have left?"

Wearing a Batman cap, a bulky, blue raincoat and rain boots, she sat on a downed utility pole as her husband, David, discovered personal items at least a football field away from where their home had stood on Sixth Street.

The couple is staying with friends. But Friess, 45, vowed they'll start as soon as possible to build a new home on a lot of land near Oklahoma City. Monday was heartbreaking, she said.

She and her husband were planning to ride out the storm at their home. But once they saw how powerful the winds were, they sped away in her husband's red pickup.

"It was behind us. So we turned around, parked and watched it roll over the neighborhood," she said.

Their neighborhood, just west of Interstate 35 and the badly damaged Moore Medical Center, was one of the hardest hit in this town of 55,000. Nearly all the homes in this area appeared uninhabitable.

Smashed cars littered an open field. Hazmat workers were conducting house-to-house inspections, while residents, onlookers and media milled about.

Down the street from Friess, Ryan Coggins was holding onto his friend's dog that he had just rescued. Coggins, 21, of Moore, said he had happened to see his friend's dog during a news broadcast showing scenes of destruction.

Coggins went over to the neighborhood and found the dog sitting in the front seat of a car parked at his friend's house. The dog, a blue-eyed female German shepherd named Fly, was scared but otherwise okay, and Coggins was using a rope for a leash. The house was destroyed and the garage had toppled onto the car.

Along with the dog, Coggins managed to save a few other items for his friend, who had gone to his grandmother's house during Monday's storm. "He grew up here. This was his home for 21 years," Coggins said, who added that his own home was fine.

Janie Meadows, who grew up in the neighborhood and had attended Plaza Towers Elementary years ago, returned Tuesday to survey the destruction. She gave away ponchos and bottles of water to those in need.

Standing in the rain, in a pink poncho, she talked about how helpless she felt at the sight of her old neighborhood. "I have a bunch of friends who grew up in this neighborhood with me. I cannot believe it's all gone."

A few blocks away, First Baptist Church of Moore set up first aid stations as volunteers disbursing food, cases of water and sports drinks, and other supplies, including gloves, diapers, bug spray, soap and shampoo, for storm victims.

Dozens of suddenly homeless residents found shelter after the tornado at the sprawling red-brick church, next to a neighborhood full of badly damaged homes, said Joey Dean, a youth pastor at the church.

"We're used to disasters. It's one of those things. Tornado hits. Bomb goes off. And everyone's just rolling up their sleeves and pitching in," Dean said. "That's just kind of how Oklahoma's always been."

Moore residents take stock of what's left 05/21/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 7:58am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Comedy legend Jerry Lewis dead at 91


    Jerry Lewis, who teamed with Dean Martin in the '50s before starring in The Nutty Professor and later founding the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon has died at 91 at his home in Las Vegas, according to his publicist.

    More to come.

    Jerry Lewis in the 2016 film "Max Rose." [Hopper Stone, Paladin]
  2. Mastermind of lottery rigging scam that netted millions faces 25 years


    DES MOINES, Iowa — For a decade, computer programmer Eddie Tipton reliably showed up for work at the central Iowa office of the Multi-State Lottery Association and earned the confidence of his co-workers, a team of technicians entrusted to build computers used to randomly pick numbers for some of the most popular …

    FILE - In this June 29, 2017, file photo, Eddie Tipton, the former Multi-State Lottery Association information security director who admitted to masterminding a scheme to rig lottery games that paid him and others $2 million from seven fixed jackpots in five states, is seen in court in Des Moines, Iowa. Tipton is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, Aug. 22. (Rodney White/The Des Moines Register via AP, File) IADES501
  3. Pasco County man killed in wrong-way crash on New Jersey Turnpike


    MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — Authorities say a Florida man driving the wrong way on the New Jersey Turnpike was killed when his SUV crashed head-on into another vehicle.

  4. No bond for suspect in Kissimmee officers' fatal shooting


    KISSIMMEE — A suspect in the fatal shooting of two police officers in Florida will be staying in jail after a judge denied him bond Sunday, saying there was probable cause for his first-degree murder charge

    Officers Matthew Baxter, left, and Sam Howard, right, who were both shot and killed in Kissimmee, Florida, on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. [Kissimmee Police]
  5. Tampa police arrest 22-year-old man in July murder


    TAMPA — Police arrested Sunday a 22-year-old man who detectives said shot and killed a Tampa man after an argument.

    Tampa police arrested Dejonta Felder, 22, in the murder of 32-year-old Julius R. Carter. [Tampa Police Department]