Survivors reflect on storms as Moore Medical Center demolition begins

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MOORE, Okla. – One of the many buildings destroyed on May 20 by the deadly EF-5 tornado in Moore included the Moore Medical Center.

More than 450 people were inside the building when the massive twister hit but no one was killed in the storm.

Crews started the three-week demolition process Tuesday morning with a ceremony.

“It happened to us and because of our dedicated staff, because of your heart, your courage and your preparation, we did good,” David Whitaker said, Norman Regional Health System President and CEO.

Luckily, hundreds of people survived, including Cindy Popejoy, a charge nurse.

“We just kind of ducked down under lots of blankets and just got pelted and hit by sheet rock and insulation and the wall blew out at the O.R.,” Popejoy said.

Popejoy was on the second floor of the medical center with her patient who was on the verge of giving birth to her baby.

While terrified, both were able to safely ride out the storm.

Her patient, Shay-la Taylor, delivered her little boy, Braeden Taylor, just hours later unharmed.

However, for Popejoy, seeing the aftermath of the vicious tornado was just as unsettling as being trapped inside.

“When I got home I did just sit down and cry and cry because this is my family, this is my home,” Popejoy said.

A feeling nurse Brenda Flemming said she knows all too well as she watched her second home face demolition.

“Almost like a death in the family or a divorce because since we have nowhere to work now, we go to Norman and we’re split apart and we don’t really see each other that often,” Flemming said.

A bond hundreds of employees said they want to savor.

Many said they will wait for a new workplace to call home.

“If they would rebuild this facility, every one of these people would come back to work here because like I said, it is a great facility,” Popejoy said.

An advisory committee has been formed to detail the rebuilding stages of the Moore Medical Hospital and while there’s a long road ahead, a temporary service will be on site to help with emergencies in the meantime.

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