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Spavinaw Begins Cleaning Up Tornado's Trail

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Now the cleanup is underway, and by no means are the people of Spavinaw going it alone. Now the cleanup is underway, and by no means are the people of Spavinaw going it alone.
The people who lost what they had were being helped by the ones who were spared. The people who lost what they had were being helped by the ones who were spared.
Mobile homes were clearly the worst place to be, many were torn apart or turned over. Mobile homes were clearly the worst place to be, many were torn apart or turned over.
SPAVINAW, Oklahoma -

Power has been restored and water service is back in the town of Spavinaw.

Early Thursday, a small tornado there damaged homes, a church and a school yesterday morning.

The damage is significant and concentrated, it covers just a couple of blocks.

Many homes were not damaged, and everyone who couldn't stay in their own homes last night found another spot. In fact, the Red Cross shelter was empty.

4/18/2013 Related Story: Storm Damages School, Homes In Spavinaw

In the middle of several square blocks of tornado damage, families are holding on to what's left.

They all survived, relatively unhurt.

Now the cleanup is underway, and by no means are the people of Spavinaw going it alone.

Teams of volunteers from the Southern Baptists arrived Friday to start clearing fallen trees, some of them large enough to crush the houses they landed on.

Other homes were wiped off their foundations and torn apart, leaving piles of wood and belongings behind.

In the county, 35 homes were destroyed.

"A lot of the trees are on top of the houses now so it's not safe for them to be there, so our main goal as far as this weekend is pick up and cleanup the debris so people can get back in their homes," said John Janzen of Mayes County Emergency Management.

The Red Cross was helping out with meals and disaster kits for cleaning up homes where the wind broke out windows and the rain poured in.

The people who lost what they had were being helped by the ones who were spared.

"One nice thing about a small town is that when something happens, people really become family," Brenda Stewart said.

Mobile homes were clearly the worst place to be, many were torn apart or turned over.

Amber Breazeal's parents were about to leave for a safer place when the tornado arrived.

"At the point they opened the door, the trailer was taken up and they were thrown to opposite ends and it just got turned to upside down and dropped to what you see now," Breazeal said.

4/19/2013 Related Story: State Baptist Disaster Relief Dispatches Volunteers To Spavinaw

Only a few of the people with damage had insurance, and adjusters were evaluating their damage so repairs can start.

Many others will be left to rely on charity or wait on government assistance, which depends on whether the area is considered enough of a disaster to qualify.

The school is still undergoing substantial repairs and that church steeple that was ripped off was found. It was four doors down from the church at someone's house.

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