Two days after an EF-5 tornado struck Moore, Okla., residents continued combing for their belongings and attempting to salvage what’s left.
Volunteers descended upon the region to aid in the efforts and distribute much-needed personal care items.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department said Wednesday morning the preliminary tornado damage estimate could top $2 billion.
Moore resident Jenny Sample grew up in Marietta, Ohio and has parents who live in Springboro. She said she had no idea a tornado was coming Monday afternoon.
“I wasn’t paying attention to the news, it just kind of happens often when they say there are storms, there are tornadoes,” she said. Once her husband called she realized the tornado was above them.
She grabbed her son and their pets and left the house.
Sample’s husband Jeff said he was at work when the tornado touched down.
“I turned the news on and … growing up in Oklahoma, you learn the (weather) terminology,” he said. “I saw a large storm with a hook in it headed right toward our house.”
Jeff Sample said he headed south toward his dad’s house. That’s when he called his wife and warned her to leave their home.
The home received damage but wasn’t destroyed, he said. They believe they’ll be able to live in it again in a few weeks.
Evidence of the tornado’s massive strength was still very apparent Wednesday. A business’ still-standing sign inviting consumers to participate in a fundraiser was covered in pieces of insulation that flew during the tornado Monday afternoon.
Employees of Freddy’s Frozen Custard restaurant said they continued to find pictures among the debris, some showing photos of birthday parties and graduations.
Tipp City resident Mark Cremeans leads the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team. The team on Wednesday delivered to Moore a semi-tractor trailer with lots of tools, including 70-100 chainsaws.
The team also provided power washers and everything from screwdrivers to drywall, Cremeans said.
The organization has stayed up to a year and a half in area affected by disaster, he said. How long the volunteers stay in Moore depends on the need.
“Once long-term (help) comes in, if we’re needed somewhere else worse than we are here, then we’ll go there.”
Cremeans said there are lots of reasons the organization offers aid.
“If you’ve ever helped anyone, you know that feeling. It’s not a feeling you can get paid for,” he said.
“The Bible tells us to help those in need. … The people here, they need it.”
Cremeans has seen several devastated areas while serving with the team, and said the damage in Moore is a bit different than what he saw in Joplin, Mo. two years ago.
In Joplin, more things seemed to be broken into in small pieces. In Moore, he said, things were wrapped and twisted.
“It’s really bad,” he said of Moore. “I put it right up there with Joplin” as far as the severity of damage, Cremeans said.
Dayton Daily News and WHIO staff reporters Andy Sedlak and James Brown contributed to this report.
— For information on the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team, go online to www.churchesofchristdrt.org.
— Battery supplier Duracell announced Tuesday it was headed to the Moore area to dispense free batteries to affected residents, according to tweets from its twitter website.
— The website www.freekibble.com is donating Halo Purley for Pets food to pets impacted by the tornado.
— Anyone still wishing to find out if a relative or friend is OK may visit one of The American Red Cross websites, www.safeandwell.org.
— Those in need of assistance should reach out to the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org/find-help.
— Matthew 25: Ministries in Blue Ash welcomes volunteers at its facility on Kenwood Road. It will stay open through Memorial Day weekend to be part of disaster relief efforts. To contact M25M, call (513) 793-6256.
— Kroger stores are accepting donations via checklane coinboxes at each register at stores in Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky.