Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

May 21, 2013

Harrowing scene inside elementary school destroyed by tornado

(Continued)

At Plaza Towers, Law said many parents had picked up their children by the time the tornado hit, around 3 p.m. "I hope and pray that all of them got home," she said.

After the storm, she helped usher children to safety in the Warren Theatres near Interstate 35. A parking lot outside was being used as for triage. Ambulances were lined up like cabs at an airport.

"Last I knew, they were searching for people,” Law of the school. “The police and everybody were going back there, and they started going back there with dogs. The whole neighborhood was gone.”

Crews searched through the remains of Plaza Towers into the night, finding some survivors beneath a collapsed wall and piles of rubble. The students looked dazed and terrified as they emerged, according to witnesses, then were passed down a chain of parents and volunteers.

Scenes of destruction seemed endless throughout the city.

Moore Medical Center, a full-service hospital and emergency room, was completely gutted. Across the street, a neighborhood was flattened. Across the interstate, a few blocks south of Main Street, another neighborhood was destroyed.

The tornado also destroyed another elementary school in Moore, Briarwood, though the human cost there was unknown late Monday night.

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Clay Horning writes for The Norman, Okla., Transcript

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