The Herald Bulletin

May 20, 2013

Oklahoma family with Anderson ties OK after tornado

Fate of newly purchased home unknown

By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Telly Hogue-Rinker’s aunt and uncle, Becky and Dustin Smith, just recently sold their house in Shawnee, Okla., and bought one in Moore. The couple is from Anderson and had moved to Oklahoma after retiring.

Now, they don’t know if that house is still standing.

A monstrous tornado at least a half-mile wide with winds up to 200 mph ripped through the Oklahoma City suburb Monday and the Smiths haven’t been able to get out to the area of their new home to see if it's still standing.

“They said it tore up the city pretty bad,” Rinker said.

At least 51 fatalities had been reported late Monday evening as the twister flattened entire neighborhoods.

Officials said the death toll was expected to rise while more than 120 were being treated at hospitals, including about 70 children.

The National Weather Service’s initial findings indicated the tornado was an EF-4 on the Fujita scale, the second most-powerful twister on the scale.

Rinker’s cousin, Martha Shanks, and her son, Cody Shanks, also live in Moore. She said her aunt and uncle were actually with Martha at Cody’s house when the tornado struck.

They took shelter in the cellar. Rinker said there wasn’t any major damage to Cody’s house as far as she knows.

While Rinker said she’s “sad to hear” about the fatalities, she’s thankful her family is OK.

“The timing is awful,” she said, as the Smiths have to be out of their Shawnee house at the end of the month and find someplace else to live if the house in Moore is gone, but it also “could’ve been worse.”

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