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Quapaw Residents Begin Cleanup Efforts
By Gretchen Bolander
QUAPAW, OK.--- Sheet metal wrapped around trees. Plates, clothes and stuffed animals trailing through yards. Entire buildings reduced to rubble. That's what's left of many homes and businesses in Quapaw tonight.
"Terrifying, it's terrifying. And your neighbors, this is a small community, everybody knows everybody. You just worry and wonder," said Kim Pease, Quapaw Tornado Victim.
Pease had just moved back to her hometown two weeks ago.
"Not a clue in the world. Didn't even see it coming," said Pease.
"No warning at all. Doesn't surprise me, this is Oklahoma," said Misti Leeper, Quapaw Tornado Victim.
Pease and her sister, Misty Leeper, are working to cleanup around their home. They need to make the damaged roof and windows watertight in case of rain. And then there's the sheet metal, insulation and endless storm debris to pick up. It's a scene repeated over and over in Quapaw, but the victims aren't on their own. Volunteers are already helping out. And at the state level, Governor Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency.
"Offer any type of resource that we need or any type of services that we can bring to bear to help Quapaw in their recovery, certainly, and being able to rebuild and get back on their feet," said Governor Mary Fallin, Oklahoma.
"Looking into the lack of warning is also a high priority. The Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management is working with the National Weather Service to find out what went wrong," said Governor Fallin.
"This is a bit of a strange anomaly from what I understand. We're talking to the weather folks, but at the same time, we want to investigate and find out exactly what happened," said Albert Ashwood, Oklahoma Office Emergency Management Director.
The tornado touched down southwest of the Quapaw Fire Department then traveled north along Main Street. It affected an area five blocks long by four blocks wide. Six people were injured and one killed in the tornado. John L. Brown, 68, of Baxter Springs had been traveling through town and parked next to a concrete wall for shelter. He was killed when that wall fell on the vehicle. His wife was also in the car, she was injured but survived.