Skip to comments.7 Children Drowned In Basement Of Elementary School
Posted on 05/21/2013 6:58:39 AM PDT by Biggirl
MOORE, Okla. (CBS Houston/AP) Search and rescue crews worked through the night after a monstrous tornado barreled through the Oklahoma City suburbs, demolishing an elementary school and reducing homes to piles of splintered wood. At least 24 people were killed and and that number is expected to climb, officials said Tuesday.
(Excerpt) Read more at houston.cbslocal.com ...
And showbiz “progressives” will mock the victims because they’re not from Vermont...or California...or Maryland but...GASP...OKLAHOMA!
Where is the Superintendent of the Moore ISD to give an explanation of why his district did not dismiss at 1:00 PM as the OKC schools did? In the last week of school, nothing that crucial is being done that it should cost he injury and death of those children. There should be consequences for this wrong-headed decision.
OKC weathermen, headed by the Dean of Tornado Warnings, Gary England, know when to sound the alarm about incoming weather there. They should ALWAYS be obeyed because they are 99% correct.
I can’t get the original article to stay up on my screen so that I can read it. How did this happen?
It makes me wonder too, because does not the southern, southwestern schools get out first for the summer by Memorial Day?
Dismiss to where? To go home only to be killed or injured as that F5 ripped the house apart?
Here it is:
Look for it to be declared an F5. I cannot understand why it was given an F4 instead.
Would dismissal at 1:00 pm had those children on the road or going to homes where there were no parents? They may have thought the storm was too imminent to send the buses out.
Obama just said in presser that ‘the children were sheltering in the safest place they knew...their schools’.
If dems did not spend so much money on pointless crap like globull warming and obamaphones...perhaps they could have built better shelters for those in Oklahoma schools!!
It still won’t stay up on my screen. It loads half way and then clicks to blank. Why did 7 children drown? Was there a flood? Broken pipes? Were there other children in the basement who did not drown?
Somebody who has actually read the story, please comment.
This is heartbreaking... my prayers for the families and all who are affected by this disaster.
What about drills did they have such things during the school year? Was someone supposed to shut off the water and electricity and gas during this coming storm? I’m just asking questions ....
I do not know, because this storm came quickly.
Yes, I read it was broken pipes. I can’t imagine there was a basement. Modern schools don’t have basements. Perhaps it was a maintenance room.
Kids were in basement. When a 2” water main feeding the school is compromised that is prob 1000 gals a minute being flowed into the basement. This is just an estimate on the volume of water flowing to the basement and the piping size but I would say a 2” main would be needed to operate the facility. Bricks and mortar look strong and are to a certain degree but not against 200+ mile an hour winds. Plus you have the cave in factor of the materials falling in on those below.
All one can say is “ It was a bad decision, A basement can seem the safest place but depending what is on top of that basement, Feeding that area it can be fatal”
How did the much larger OKC school district manage to safely dismiss their students? Perhaps neighboring districts should ask for their plan. They dismissed two and a half hours before the storm struck, so there was ample time.
Sending kids to a basement with overhead water pipes was not a safe plan, obviously.
I thought with all the radar this was know for that day. I’m so upset I can’t even concentrate at work. The one thing I cannot handle is children dying it’s too much.
This was all very foreseeable.
We know people who tried to get their children out of the school 25 minutes before it was demolished. There’s no excuse for not releasing the children to those parents who showed up in time. The schools do not own the children, and parents should have both the ultimate authority and responsibility for their children.
That said, this discussion isn’t going to help anyone right now. There will be plenty of time later to hold the school leadership responsible. As for the individual teachers, it appears they heroically did everything possible to protect the children.
“I cant imagine there was a basement. Modern schools dont have basements.”
Midwest schools in storm areas have basements. I lives in Dayton for awhile and the school had a basement specifically for tornadoes. No water mains, heavy ceiling, etc.
OMG — How horrible. e used to be ushered down into the basement for bombing drills during WWII. This was an old, brick school (now illegal in CA because of earthquake hazards). I can’t imagine that that rickety old school would have protected us much, especially since the walls were lined with tall bookshelves that stored all of the out of season books.
The children sat on the floor in front of the dusty old bookshelves with our arms around our knees and heads down. I can just imagine all the books tumbling down at the first shock wave, and then the shelves toppling over on the kids.
Responsibility2nd: “To go home only to be killed or injured as that F5 ripped the house apart?”
That is the parent’s decision to make, not the schools.
If you don’t live here, you don’t probably understand exactly how accurate tornado tracking is in Oklahoma City. We were about 2 miles from it and watched it as it went past. Why didn’t we run to shelter? Because the news was reporting its exact location (confirmed by our own observations).
Unless one is right in the path of these things, the risk of injury or destruction is virtually nil. With as accurate as the news is, it’s possible to simply drive a mile or two out of the tornado’s path. Although that’s not wise in most cases, it’s probably better than trying to hunker down in a structure that’s directly in the path of a F-5 tornado.
Bottom line: parents should have the ultimate authority and responsibility for their children. It’s their decision to make.
News stories all over Australia about that tornado. A question: It was reported that 24 children were killed but no mention of school staff. Were they there?
I heard on the news this morning that students (high school, I’m thinking) were sheltered into the locker rooms just before the storm hit. Some quick thinking individual thought about the football helmets. So as the debris started flying, at least these helmets were used for some protection.
I don’t want to second guess anyone on this tradegdy but, I was told that they had 15 minutes warning. If you watch the video of the strom approaching the High School and if the Elementry school had the same busses as did the High School, You can see the busses sitting there and the twister aooroaching @ I think they said 2.5 mph! there is no damage as of yet and hi-ways not blocked, those busses should have been loaded and out to anywhere perpendicular of the storm! the Storm was 2 miles wide. Even @ only 10 miles an hour the busses could have been out of harms way and you know the driver would have been doin max! That would have been my option!
A lot of people here have shelters that simply cannot be destroyed by an F-5. You may be buried under rubble, but you aren’t going to die. There are several underground shelters on my block alone. The schools here should have similar safe rooms or shelters that are designed to handle direct hits. I believe both of the demolished schools were relatively new, so they could have been built to protect the children.
I think that’s part of the reason why some parents are so infuriated that the children weren’t released to their parents when it was still safe to do so. From what I understand, some parents actually went to the school, asked for their children, and were turned away (this will need to be confirmed—it’s rumor right now). The parents may have had much better shelters than the school. Like I wrote, in ground shelters are very common in homes here.
Some parents were going to the school to pick up their kids and leave the area entirely -- not to return home.
It seemed to vary a lot in intensity. At some points, it looked very similar to the May 3rd tornado. It may have reached F-5 at certain points. Unfortunately, the damage seems worse, because a lot of new buildings have went up in Moore since 1999.
You don’t build basements in OK. There is a reason very few houses have them and those are typically from the 50’s and 60’s and were built to be fallout shelters. The soil makes it extremely difficult. The soil is hard and no matter how well you build the basement, it will eventually leak.
The only way to survive that tornado was to be out of its path or below ground. Below ground is not an option for schools. Because of the timing of the storm and the heavy population where it went through, evacuation was not a good option either. It was only about 30 minutes from clear skies to the tornado sirens going off. In OK, once the sirens go off, schools go on lockdown.
There was only a 50% chance of severe weather yesterday that could possibly produce a tornado. If we closed schools every time that was the forecast, they might as well close school down in mid April for the summer. This was a simply a combination of worst case scenarios.
Wrong. As someone else upthread pointed out - there was no time to send for the busses and no point to send kids to an empty home.
You claim this was the parents decision, not the schools. Wrong again. This was an urgent split-second decision. And as long as the children are at school, the responsibility for their safety belongs to the school staff. Certainly if a parent showed up before the tornado to take little Billy home, then fine. But since the kids and their parents had no choice, then I appreicate the decisions officials made.
I’m guessing that more little lives would have been lost if these hundreds of children were just “sent home”.
Trust me. You can not move 500 children in 15 minutes.
Why would you say “below ground is not an option for schools?” They could build rows of in-ground shelters on the school grounds that are separate from the main building. For younger children that can’t be expected to evacuate safely in rain to external shelters, there could be individual shelters in the classrooms themselves. They could be something similar to ones used in garages.
You can’t move 500 adults under those conditions in 15 minutes.
I’m not talking about busing the children mere minutes before it hit. I’m talking about parents who showed up early, wanted to evacuate their children, and were told no. Again. Schools do not own the children. Parents bear ultimate responsibility and therefore must have ultimate authority for their own children. Schools do not have the right to keep me from my children!
I’m sure that is a correct statement but I would have moved as many as I could have.
You live in OK?
Responsiblity2nd: “Trust me. You can not move 500 children in 15 minutes.”
You are right, but I’m not talking about last minute evacuations or split second decisions. I’m talking about 15 - 30 minutes (or more) before it hit which is plenty of time to release individual students on a case-by-case basis.
As for trying to bus them all out at the last moment, I agree that’s ridiculous. At that point, the best choice is to hunker down and try to ride it out.
Yeah, I saw your post 27 about that. I hope this is a rumour and not true.
We know a couple at our church who tried to get their children out. The father went to the school 25 minutes early, but the school wouldn’t let him take their child. The mother and their three other children were at home in their private storm shelter. The father went into the class and sheltered with their child in the classroom. Both survived without injuries. Other families in our church have lost their homes, but no deaths or injuries reported. Thank God! Communication is limited, but we have internet/Facebook.
Amen! Does anyone think those children wouldn’t have felt safer with their parents? Were they crying for their teachers, or their mothers? If they were doomed anyway by the tornado’s path, better they would have been in their homes. I can’t imagine being their parents now. The school year is over, there should have been NO SCHOOL in light of the forecast from the night before for more tornados. Poor babies, poor parents. Those children might not have been safer in their homes,but every one of them wished they were. Just pray for them all, and pray that they learn from this and it never happens again.
***And showbiz progressives will mock the victims because theyre not from Vermont...or California...or Maryland but...GASP...OKLAHOMA!****
I remember the OKC bombing. The Eastern newscasters progressives began to wring their hands over the belief that those high-plains “rubes and rednecks and Okies” of Flyover Country could not deal with such a disaster!
They were shocked, SHOCKED! with the quick response of rescue teams because of their constant training for tornado disasters.
Moving during these storms is the exact opposite of what is recommended, seek shelter immediately is always the recommended course. Any shelter is far better than being caught in the open or in a vehicle. As you can see form the graphic above Tornadoes shift paths to some degree. Even with 15 minutes moving a large mass of people would never get them all out of the way in time, and the loss could have been worse. Even one full school bus picked up by the winds. Now if parents were there an hour or so before they should have been given their kids, but in the minutes leading up to the actual strike that too would have been an indeed distraction and a risk.
My daughter’s elementary school has over 400 children. My son’s high school has 3000 students. Since these in ground shelters can hold about 12-14 students, where do you propose to put 40 to 200 of these 6’x3’ rectangles? You would need a football field and unfortunately, most schools don’t have the space.
Mistakes are always going to be made in pressure situations like this. We learned a lot after the May 3rd, 1999 tornado that has saved hundreds of lives since and probably saved hundreds of lives yesterday. Hopefully, we learn more from this, that will continue to minimize the risk associated with living in OK this time of year. It’s just that today is not the day for armchair qb’s. Emotions are too high to be reasonable and constructive.
I grew up in Oklahoma - of course, this was 50 years ago. Everyone had storm shelters. I can remember riding with my Dad as he drove between churches (he preached at one in the morning and another in the afternoon because he had 7 churches) and spotting a funnel cloud. Dad, who loved storms, decided to give chase, which was fun for awhile. Then the funnel turned and we pulled into a farm just in time to join the family in the storm cellar. The thing sucked on the storm door so hard that both the farmer and Dad had to hold it. Oddly enough it missed the barn where the vehicles were parked, but took off one side of the farmhouse. We headed back to the main church because it was home to the Disaster Relief Van and we knew we would need to get it on the road.
I remember a safe room in our school. It was especially built as a storm shelter and would hold the school population. We drilled going there and the teachers would calmly teach right up until the sirens sounded and we’d march off. I understand leaky basements, I just don’t understand the lack of safe rooms.
Stop trying to second guess and arm chair quarterback. The people of Oklahoma are probably the most weather savvy people in the country. The National Tornado Center is probably 5 miles from Moore and they still had only 15 minutes notice.
It is much easier to reevaluate upward than downward, so the initial estimate will be low if there is any doubt. Just imagine trying to convince the media that it was only an EF4 after an initial estimate of EF5.
I looked through the documents which detail what level of damage match each EF level (a real snoozefest) and it was very detailed about how to analyze damage and what types of destruction match what level and how to do statistical analysis on the damage so that one freak collapsing building won't bias the estimate. The EF level is based on the damage (and therefore indirectly wind speed), not the width or the length of time on the ground so you can have a very small, short lived EF5 tornado or a large, long lasting but weak EF1 tornado. This one was big, long lasting and strong, but the first two don't control the EF level.