Six months after El Reno tornado, disaster site healing over

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EL RENO, Okla. (KFOR) – Six months after an EF-3 tornado tore through El Reno, almost all of the damage has been cleared away, including a hotel crushed in the storm.

“It needed to go,” said Therese Baughtman, an employee at the Domino convenience store and gas station across the street.

Her coworker, Jeffrey Pointer, was working the night the storm hit. He said because it was so dark, they didn’t know the extent of the destruction until sunrise.

“The rain started going sideways, window started shaking real bad,” Pointer said. “It didn’t hit until hours later when you started getting… the shock kind of wore off and everything and you started realizing just how close it was.”

Since that night, the shock has continued to wear off throughout town.

“I mean, we were just to the point where I have nothing else to say. What are we going to keep saying,” Baughtman said. “It was just over, and over, and over. But now not so much.”

Travelers stopping through town at the store still request firsthand accounts of what happened, but finally the crumbling motel is gone. All that’s left is a torn up lot.

“I’m thinking surely it helps because that’s all everybody talked about, is why is it still standing here, why haven`t we gotten rid of it,” Baughtman said.

The property is now up for sale, and the excitement has quieted down.

But speaking with the people with a front row seat to the disaster, it’s clear that though talk may have died down, the community is still shaken.

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