Baxter Springs, in southeast Kansas, is still reeling from the damage caused by a tornado on Sunday evening. One man was killed in nearby Quapaw, Okla. and 25 people were injured, nine which were serious enough to be hospitalized.
The tornado, now rated by the National Weather Service as an EF2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, touched down at Quapaw and slashed an eight mile path of destruction through the nearby city of Baxter Springs.
According to newson6.com, the tornado was approximately 150 yards wide at one point.
Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin and Kansas governor Sam Brownback declared a state of emergency for the area and President Obama promised in a press conference from the Philippines to help the victims rebuild.
“Your country will be there to help you recover and rebuild as long as it takes,” Obama said.
Over 100 houses and buildings were destroyed in downtown Baxter Springs, and the one aforementioned casualty was a man from Baxter Springs who was passing through Quapaw when the tornado hit. He drove his car into a vacant building for shelter, but the building collapsed on top of the car.
Quapaw Police Chief Gary Graham said that the area had no warning whatsoever and didn’t sound the tornado sirens.
“You know it’s hard to warn other people when we don’t know. It’s unfortunate that it happened that way and I’m not happy that it happened that way but I don’t know what else we could have done.”, he said.
The tornado left behind twisted metal and rubble and many devastated lives.
People like Sue McBride, 71, a Baxter Springs resident, have a long road of recovery ahead. She was sitting on her front porch when the twister hit town. When the sirens went off, she had enough time to run into a hallway before her windows were blown out and glass flew everywhere.
“I didn’t have one scratch on me and I was fine,” she said, even though she woke up in a Red Cross emergency shelter. “Some angel was watching here. I am just so thrilled to be alive and not hurt.”
So many were not so lucky.
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