‘It sounded like an earthquake’: Strong winds rip off portion of Del City Fire Department’s roof

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DEL CITY, Okla. - After a busy day of calls for downed power lines and damage from strong winds in the state, firefighters at Station 2 in Del City quickly found they were the ones that needed help after a portion of the station's roof blew off.

"Basically it was kind of the end of our work day, or so we thought. We were finishing up and basically we heard a really loud noise. Most of us thought it was an earthquake or a car wreck right outside the station or something like that," said Capt. Ashton Vernon. "Came outside and saw that part of the roof to our station was missing."

The winds peeled back the top layer of the roof, sending debris flying. Officials said it doesn't appear there was any structural damage to the concrete roof deck. However, a gas line running along the roof was damaged and required gas to be shut off until it could be fixed. The attached community center and public library were not affected.

No one was hurt, but the damage came as a surprise to those inside.

"Honestly, it sounded like an earthquake," Vernon said. "I was sitting in the captains office and from there I was able to see out into the bay, and the roof was just shaking and buckling, and we actually had concrete dust and small pieces of concrete falling and it was pretty intense."

Wind gusts in the metro reached nearly 60 mph in some areas Wednesday.

Fire Chief Brandon Pursell said the station, built in the 1960s, had the roof replaced about six or seven years ago. After a busy day of dealing with arcing or downed power lines in the city, he admits it was odd being on the other end for calls for help.

"When our responders are the ones calling for assistance, it's a little bit different," Pursell said.

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