Claremore Assisted Living Center Destroyed By Tornado

Thursday, March 31st 2016, 7:52 pm
By: News On 6

A storm spawning tornadoes ripped through Tulsa, Owasso and Claremore leaving destruction in its wake.

We showed you the twisters live from Osage SkyNews6 HD as they dropped from the sky, littering neighborhoods with damage and debris.

Now, as storm victims add up their losses, we're hearing stories of hope and survival.

From the ground, the damage is just as devastating.

South of Claremore, several homes and structures likely will be declared total losses.

One is an old farm house that's been there for decades. Most recently it's been used for independence living at an assisted care center and now it will likely have to be torn down.

In a matter of minutes, a tornado twisted through the rural countryside of Claremore -- Uprooting trees... tearing through homes... tearing through lives.

Special Coverage: Tornado Outbreak: March 30, 2016

“I'm going on an hour of sleep,” Tracey Copp said.

It's been a long 24 hours for Copp.

“We have actually been here 35 years,” she said.

She's the owner of Copp's Residential Care -- an assisted living center that is home to 45 residents living with mental health issues.

“You always have to have an emergency plan,” she said.

The metal building is the main facility.

But there are several homes surrounding the center for independent living patients.

Three people call a two-story house home.

The tornado ripped off its roof and tore down a carport, but no one was inside.

All the patients took cover in this hallway, inside the main facility.

It's a situation they've prepared for many times with tornado drills.

“When we said, 'Hey guys, take shelter,’ everybody went right where they were supposed to,” Copp said.

And when the sun came up Thursday morning -- Jerry's Excavation crews were already hard at work, using track hoes for heavy lifting and fire to burn off the debris.

“We've just got so much help from other people,” she said.

Copp is grateful for the generosity but feels most blessed knowing everyone survived without a scratch.

The residents were relocated overnight and part of Thursday because the storm knocked out power.

They are now back, with the exception of the independent living residents.

They'll stay with family or other facilities until the independent living homes are repaired or rebuilt.