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El Reno tornado survivors return to find homes in worse shape than tornado left them

EL RENO, Okla. - On Tuesday afternoon, several residents of the Skyview Mobile Home Park who were hit hardest by Saturday’s tornado were allowed to return to what’s left of their homes, and for most, what they found was a gut-wrenching surprise.

“Never expected this,” said Shane Clark.

His home was lifted up and dropped upside-down by the tornado while he and his wife held onto each other inside. But when they fled early Sunday morning, he said he could still make out parts of their life strewn about.

“I could see stuff that we could have salvaged, stuff that meant things to us,” Clark said. He was also told their homes wouldn’t be bulldozed before they could return to them.

Many residents of the mobile home park were allowed to return with police escort Sunday to collect their things, but Shane and his neighbors whose homes were extremely damaged had to wait until Tuesday afternoon. They had hoped they’d be able to recover whatever they could.

What they returned to was shards of the structures pushed into piles with the contents.

“The tornado took everything from us and then we come out here and see this,” Clark said, “we just feel like it`s been ripped from us again.”

Mayor Matt White said the area hasn’t been bulldozed, but that a track hoe did come in Sunday morning and moved things around to help crews search for survivors.

“Some of the structures that were turned over or whatever else, they were probably absolutely moved because we had some unaccounted at that point in time,” the mayor said.

He’s encouraging any survivors to go to 2707 Faith Ave (the fire station on 27th Street) Wednesday between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to register with the city for aid, including part of the proceeds from the victims’ GoFundMe page (which was nearly up to $55,000 in donations Tuesday evening).

But the discovery is still crushing for Clark and his neighbors left with even less than they had hoped.

“Why do you have to come destroy the rest of our life that we can possibly rebuild from? Why take that away from us?” Clark asked. “Give us the chance to come out here and get our stuff, what we have left to go forward with our lives.”

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