Quapaw Tornado Victims Thankful To Survive
QUAPAW, Oklahoma - People in Quapaw and a number of volunteers are working hour after hour to try to recover from the twister that hit the town of about 900 people.
I talked to several survivors who told me they're lucky to be alive.
The damage in Quapaw stretches over about a six block area. More than a dozen homes and businesses are destroyed, including Kim Taconis' house. Most of the roof is missing.
"I was shaking all over. No one was with me,"said Kim Taconis, tornado victim.
A relative called Taconis to warn her about the storm. She tried to make it from a bedroom to her basement in the garage but couldn't get there in time.
"By the time I got here, the windows started breaking on me," Taconis said. "I come over here so I could go to my storm shelter. I open this door, and when I did it was blowing so hard, all I did was lean my body against it."
Despite what she's lost, Taconis is thankful to be alive.
The tornado killed one person in Quapaw, 68-year-old John Brown. Brown was from nearby Baxter Springs and was traveling through Quapaw. When the weather got bad he pulled into a parking lot where a large concrete wall fell on his vehicle, killing Brown.
National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Piltz says a preliminary survey shows the tornado packed winds of 105 to 125 miles per hour.
Frank Frazier, 86, felt the sudden power of the twister.
"All at once, I didn't hear it coming or nothing," said Frank Frazier.
He was outside cleaning out a dog pen when the tornado hit.
"Just the old man up above is looking out for me; he was watching after me,"the tornado survivor said.
Frazier was slammed to the ground, knocked unconscious, and woke up later with debris all around him. Frazier's house of more than 50 years is heavily damaged so he'll stay with relatives.
"It's amazing how strong these storms can be," he said. "Oh boy, it's something. I'm just lucky to be here to be honest with you. But I'm paying for it today. I'm sore all over."
Others are also trying to figure out what to do next, as they clean up debris and try to recover.
The man who was killed when the tornado hit, was with his wife when wall collapsed on their car. She was rescued, taken to the hospital and has been treated and released.