Overnight Baker Recalls Moment Tornado Hit Panera
TULSA, Oklahoma - The tornado was at its strongest right before it crossed I-44, meaning the businesses in that area were among the hardest hit.
I talked to Panera employee Thomas Foote who says he was there baking that morning, and when the storm came through, he said it sounded like a bomb went off.
Foote's car was just one casualty of Sunday morning's storm.
"I usually fix my own cars, and I don't think I can do that,” he said.
A baker at Panera, he was there bright and early when the tornado swept through.
"Believe it or not, the advertising is true; we actually do make all the bread from scratch every day, and we were there making that bread,” he recalled. “We were in the back kind of going about our jobs when what sounded like a bomb went off. We looked outside and the front of the building was lying flat."
After all that commotion, before police moved them elsewhere, it was business as usual.
"We actually went back to baking bread for a little while,” he said.
Foote typically works at the Broken Arrow Panera, and was at a different location by chance, filling in for another baker.
In a weird way, he says he's glad he was there.
"I'm kind of glad,” he said. “I spent a number of years in the Scouts and had some disaster preparedness training, so I'd rather it have been me than someone who wasn't as mentally prepared for that."
Fortunately, the company tells me that all the employees from that location will be re-stationed at others around the Tulsa area, so no one will be left without a job.