SEMINOLE, Okla. (KFOR) – The long rebuilding process is well underway in Seminole, Okla. In less than a week, the town is now reeling from a second tornado strike.
“This one is very surprising because Seminole has never had a tornado hit inside the town like this,” said Mary Ann Kovene with the American Red Cross.
The storm eventually evolved into a tornado that touched down in Pottawatomie County before it made its way to Seminole.
Shortly before 7 p.m., tornado sirens sounded and alerted residents in Seminole to get to their safe spots.
Roofs were torn from buildings, power lines were down across the town, windows were blown out and some buildings were destroyed.
Seminole City Manager Steve Saxon has been with the city for 24 years and says he has never seen damage like this before.
“We’re like 90 percent of Oklahoma communities and believe that there is something that is going to protect us from that day. And here we are. It can happen to you, and we’re experiencing it firsthand,” said Saxon.
“Thank the Lord; nobody was hurt. I was touring the the the charter school here two or three months ago,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt
The Academy of Seminole was left in shambles. Debris from the building is scattered across the property.
It’s the same building a mom of seven used to seek shelter.
Her husband and son held a restored gun vault door shut as the twister tore through.
“It took everything they had to keep it shut, but thank god that area of the school stayed together,” said Tiffani Coker.
Residents’ faith remains unshaken.
“Everybody is pulling together to get everybody through this,” said Kovene. “And we will get through it. We will fight through it.”
City leaders say structural engineers will soon be assessing the damage to the buildings in downtown Seminole to make sure they are safe.