EDMOND, Okla. — It was the longest weekend of Debbie Hite’s life. She took cover in her storm shelter when sirens sounded early Saturday morning.
In her sleepy state, she forgot her cell phone.
On top of that, she’d been cleaning out her shelter in anticipation of storm season.
Most survival items had been temporarily removed including food, water and blankets.
Next thing Hite knew, she was trapped in the shelter.
“There was a really loud clap of thunder that I thought was something else so I shut the door. When the sirens went off I tried to get out but I could not get the door to open.”
Hours stretched into days.
She said her emotions ran the gamut.
“I had several panic times. One when I realized I wasn’t getting out ’til somebody found me. My other freak out was when I fell asleep and I woke up with a spider on my face.”
Hite said she tried to keep track of what time it was and almost had another breakdown when she thought it was Monday, but soon realized it was still only Sunday.
The entire time she held out hope because she knew she would be missed eventually and rescued.
However, all the time alone gave her a lot of time to think.
“I started thinking about prisoners of war or people kidnapped into sex slavery who don’t know when their time line is up.”
Sure enough, when she didn’t show up for staff meeting at work Monday her coworkers got worried.
Soon she was rescued.
“It was just such a relief and I celebrated with tears,” she said.
The Shelter manufacturers came to investigate what went wrong in Debbie’s case.
Flat Safe Tornado Shelter Owner Jerry Wirtz said they are investigating what happened.
“She said she used the shelter properly. It still functions properly still opens and closes. At this point we’re not sure, she’s not sure.”
This Edmond woman is sure about a number of other things.
“I just want to make sure it works and that my family is safe and other people are safe. I’m just so thankful to be out and all day today I’ve been thankful for little tiny things.”
Wirtz said his seo company is going to reenact a number of scenarios to figure out what went wrong.