Clean-up From Massive Okla. Tornado Begins - NECN

Clean-up From Massive Okla. Tornado Begins



    Clean-up from massive Okla. tornado begins

    Moore, Okla. twister upgraded to EF-5 tornado as death toll remains at 24 (Published Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014)

    (NECN/NBC News: Sarah Dallof) - Moore, Okla. officials believe they've pulled all survivors from the rubble of Monday's devastating tornado, as well as all bodies.

    Twenty-four people were killed, and more than 200 were injured. Now, residents are starting months of clean-up and rebuilding.

    Progress is already visible, but make no mistake - this is a huge, emotional project for those involved.

    "I literally could lose my bearings surrounded by the wreckage in streets I've walked across for decades," Oklahoma's U.S. Rep. Tom Cole says.

    Moore's fire chief is confident all survivors and victims have been found. Now, it's up to brokenhearted homeowners to sift through the debris for pieces of their former lives.

    "My dad passed away and I had all his stuff in there and it's just gone and that's not anything you can replace," Survivor Meagan Jackson says, crying.

    The twister was upgraded to an EF-5, the most powerful kind of tornado, with winds of more than 200 mph. There's evidence of that everywhere, from leveled neighborhoods to cars flipped upside down to a roof sheared off Plaza Towers Elementary, where seven students were killed.

    Maria Rodriguez decided at the last minute to get her kids from that school.

    "I saw that there was a lot of glass windows and then I though this isn't going to work. I gotta get them out and that's kind of what made my choice," she says.

    Choices made in split seconds to replay again and again in the minds of the victims as they struggle to cope in the midst of disaster.

    The death toll remains at 24; however, the number of children killed has been upped to 10, including two infants. All but one of the victims have been identified.