EL RENO, Okla. – An employee of a gas station that nearly was hit by an EF-3 tornado said, after the tornado destroyed a motel and several mobile homes across the street, the gas station turned into a triage.
"We noticed that it started raining of course, but it was just like any other night,” Dustin Doughty told News 4.
However, Saturday night quickly turned into anything but a normal night for Doughty and his coworkers at the El Reno gas station where they work.
"Wind started coming down, and the rain started wrapping slightly and, before we knew it, we saw one of the storm chasers come in and drive real fast into our awning. Then, after that, we had a family run in and say they were sounding the sirens,” he said.
Because of that heavy rain, Doughty said they could barely see anything out the windows until the storm passed. After that, he noticed the motel and several mobile homes just a few yards away are now just piles of debris.
"We had people from across the street where the building was destroyed, they were coming over in just boxers and somebody was wearing a curtain because they didn't have any clothes. There was one gentleman bleeding out of his head,” he said.
The gas station quickly turned into a triage, with first responders trying to get a head count.
"It was a pretty bad deal. We had people coming in and talking about how they needed to write down on a piece of paper different names, and I actually had a lady come back today and tell us how much she appreciated us,” Doughty said.
Once he learned the EF-3 took two lives and injured 29 people, Doughty said he’s still in shock but feeling thankful to be alive.
"There was a lot of shock. I didn't realize I was so close to the tornado until the sun came up. I was super lucky that I didn't get hit. As close as it was, it's crazy,” he said.