Oklahomans say storm shelter saved dozens of lives from tornado

Oklahomans say storm shelter saved dozens of lives from EF-5 tornado

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This is all that remains of Steve Archer's daughter's home. This is all that remains of Steve Archer's daughter's home.
"She did real good all day yesterday, but then around nine she had a little bit of a breakdown saying, 'Who made the tornado? Why did the tornado hit?'" Archer said of his granddaughter. "She did real good all day yesterday, but then around nine she had a little bit of a breakdown saying, 'Who made the tornado? Why did the tornado hit?'" Archer said of his granddaughter.
His granddaughter, Hannah, was inside Plaza Towers Elementary School when the tornado hit. His granddaughter, Hannah, was inside Plaza Towers Elementary School when the tornado hit.
Kristin Farley shows the latch that three men held shut to keep the storm shelter closed from the tornado. Kristin Farley shows the latch that three men held shut to keep the storm shelter closed from the tornado.
Ben Osbourne finds the family's pet cat. Ben Osbourne finds the family's pet cat.

By KRISTIN FARLEY
6 News Anchor/Reporter

MOORE, Okla. (WATE) - The area hardest hit by the tornado, the town of Moore near Oklahoma City, is now mostly a pile of rubble as families work to recover from a devastating EF-5 tornado that struck the area Monday.

6 News spoke with one family who said a storm shelter helped save more than a dozen lives.

"We've been finding pictures and we found more clothes than we thought we would. Some of them were in good shape," said Steve Archer, as he walked through what was his daughter's home.

Pink dolls, blankets and bedding are all a reminder of his little nine-year-old granddaughter, Hannah, who was inside Plaza Towers Elementary School when the tornado hit.

"She did real good all day yesterday, but then around nine she had a little bit of a breakdown saying, 'Who made the tornado? Why did the tornado hit?' She was in a part of the building where seven other children were killed and they were probably no more than thirty feet from her," said Archer.

Her father Ben was in Oklahoma City.

Her mother Dedra was saved along with twelve others on the street, possibly because of one thing.

"They've got a little storm cellar back there and it's the only one on the block," said Archer.

Witnesses told 6 News three men actually held onto the door's latch because it wouldn't lock during the storm.

"This cellar was made in 2000 after the May '99 tornado," he said.

Steve's daughter and granddaughter are recovering about an hour from the site, while Ben finds a reason to smile amidst all of the devastation.

"I found her the cat underneath a dresser in the master bedroom and now my whole family is safe," said Ben Osbourne, upon finding his pet cat.

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