Oklahoma Tornado Survivor Recounts Tale of Destruction

by Chris Lingebach
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MOORE, OK - MAY 21:   Residents search through rubble after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The town reported a tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide that touched down yesterday killing at least 24 people and leveling everything in its path. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

MOORE, OK – MAY 21: Residents search through rubble after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 21, 2013 in Moore, Oklahoma. The town reported a tornado of at least EF4 strength and two miles wide that touched down yesterday killing at least 24 people and leveling everything in its path. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - On Wednesday, the Junkies were joined by a surviving resident of the deadly tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma Monday, taking at least 24 lives, including 9 children, with it.

While plenty of video footage has made its way around the internet, nothing can describe the fear evoked by this massive EF5 as it hurdled towards the tiny town of 55,000, quite like the first-hand account of Moore resident Toni Partin, who lived through the agony in real-time.

She recounted making her way with her family to their storm shelter, and the moment she first laid eyes on the 2-mile wide, spiraling wall of debris – an eminent threat on a collision course for Moore, and the horrific devastation it left in its wake.

“At first I didn’t know exactly what I was looking at, because it was so massive,” Partin told the Junkies on 106.7 The Fan. “We’re watching the news, it was like a mile from our house and it started crossing the highway, and that’s when we threw all the dogs in the shelter.”

“And I’m looking out,” she continued. “I’m standing on the porch, and I see this huge gray wall. It just looks like a cloud.”

With her son, husband and dogs alongside her, Toni hurried into the shelter she’d had built below their garage, more fearful each second the unyielding creation of Mother Nature grew closer.

“It sounded like a train,” she said of the 200-mph winds passing overhead, moments after sliding the shelter door shut.

And the aftermath was as difficult to digest as the sight of the destructive mass itself.

Partin described her surroundings in the moments just after the storm, as a sight increasingly challenging to process, as she made her way through the wreckage, block by block.

“There was paper on the ground; schoolwork, and kids’ stuff,” she said, describing the walk past Plaza Towers Elementary School, the site where 7 children lost their lives.

“We walked just a little bit further,” she said. “There was another street and it got worse, and then the next street – completely gone. I’ve never seen anything like it. Five cars piled on top of each other.”

Listen to Toni Partin’s full account below. Donate to the American Red Cross here.

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