OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – You have probably seen the exterior and the aftermath of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building, but KFOR has obtained a video from inside the undamaged walls which has never been seen by the public.
It is a VHS home video shot by one of the women who worked in the Federal Employees Credit Union months before the bombing.
News 4’s Ali Meyer tracked down the tape which has never been broadcast.
The video offers a rare glimpse at life inside the federal building before the bombing.
We share it with a warning: these images will be chilling for those who knew some of these victims.
For many, it will be the first time to hear their voices in 25 years.
The true cost of revenge came into focus April 19th, 1995 in gut-wrenching clarity at the corner of N.W. 5th Street and Robinson Avenue in downtown Okahoma City.
The Alfred P. Murrah federal building was the original ground zero; a site where mothers lost their babies, where rescuers unearthed survivors, and where Oklahoma City broke wide open as a terrorist truck bomb changed us forever.
“I remember wondering if I was dead or alive,” said Amy Downs. “Then hearing the siren going off in the distance and deciding I must be alive because I could hear that siren.”
Downs was a credit card loan officer at the credit union, where she’d worked since 1988.
“There were ladies who were right beside me. They didn’t make it out,” said Terri Talley. “I don’t know how to explain it. I really don’t.”
Talley was hired as a receptionist in 1987.
“When I was thrown on the floor, I could look up and see the whole building clear on the north side,” said credit union CEO Florence Rogers. “I could see blue sky. So I knew it was horrible.”
Rogers was sitting at her desk, on the third floor.
“Valerie (Koelsch) and Kathy Finley were close enough for me to touch them from my desk,” she remembers.
Eight of Rogers’ employees were within arm’s reach.
She had called a management meeting in her office on the morning of April 19th.
They were together at 9:01 a.m.
At 9:03 a.m., Rogers was the only one alive.
“There was only 18 inches of the floor behind me that didn’t break away. They all disappeared,” Rogers recalled.
The credit union opened in the Murrah building in 1977, one of the first tenants along with Social Security.
Rogers had been the chief executive officer for 24 years.
She often signed her notes “MG” because they called her “mother goose.”
“It was like family. That was one of our main goals to be like family, one goal, one flight pattern. Like geese we were all flying in the same direction,” said Rogers.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum Archives is a basement storage area for artifacts, documents and evidence from the trials of the bomber and his accomplice.
This is where a motion picture scrapbook of the casualties of April 19th has been buried for two decades.
The video was introduced as evidence by U.S. Attorneys in the case against Timothy McVeigh, but the video and testimony were over-ruled by the judge.
The tape was never played in open court.
The voices of the dead were never heard by the jury.
However, this video is part of the story of the Murrah building bombing, and the ordinary lives of hundreds of people who went there to work every day.
The video is narrated by a kind voice behind the lens which belongs to Kimberly Burgess.
Burgess brought her home video to work with her one morning in October of 1994, months before the bombing.
Her parents lived in Colorado.
The video was to be their personal tour of the credit union.
Burgess shows off her desk, her bookshelf and the company coffee area.
She also captures dozens of co-workers, busy doing their work.
Collections officer, Claudine Ritter, 48, sits at her desk as Burgess walks by.
Ritter and Kathy Leinin, 47, crack a joke about word getting out that the collections office is empty.
She passes the desk of accountant, Jill Randolph, 27.
There are bombing survivors featured on the tape, as well.
Amy Downs dashes in front of the camera, hoping to skip her cameo.
CPA Alan Booher makes an appearance in the video saying, “I’m your friendly neighborhood auditor. I’m here to audit, Kim.”
Booher didn’t work in the office, but came in occasionally for tax purposes.
Burgess walks through the loan department with camera in tow as Coleen Housley, 53, whispers and smiles.
Housley died along with three other loan officers: Jamie Genzer, 32, Karan Shepard, 27, and Robbin Huff who was seven-months pregnant.
Vice President, Claudette Meek, 43, smiles at the camera with her morning coffee in hand.
Burgess shows off the teller line where survivors Joe May, Jason Williamson and Bobbie Aud are working hard.
The camera moves to the left to show Frankie Merrell, 23, briefly.
When Merrell died in the blast, she had a two-year-old baby at home.
Tresia Worton, 28, and Christi Jenkins, 32, aren’t featured in the video, but they were among the tellers who were killed near the lobby when the bomb went off.
Three customers were killed in that same area: Woody Brady, 41, Alvin Justes, 54, and Sheila Driver, 28, who was pregnant.
The video is about seven minutes long and beautifully mundane.
As Burgess enters the hallway of her office, she spots Tony Reyes on-camera, “And there goes Tony,” she says. “One of our board of directors.”
Tony Reyes, 55, didn’t work at the credit union.
He was a board member who worked at Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on the 8th floor.
Reyes was one of more than 100 federal employees who were members at the credit union who died in the bombing.
Burgess also captured VISA coordinator, Vickie Texter, 37, working at her desk.
The video is full of priceless snapshots of life inside the credit union on a perfectly average day.
About five minutes in, Burgess appears on camera, sitting at her desk smiling.
“Here I am sitting at my desk working hard, or hardly working as I like to say.”
She had asked a friend to shoot the clip as she cut out labels.
“So with all of my credit union experience, over five years, this is what I do all day.”
The video ends inside the office of the CEO.
Kim says, “Now I’m back in Florence’s office. Let’s see if i can get a close up on this picture. There she is with two studs. She likes ducks.”
The irony is inescapable.
It is the last place Burgess was alive.
Kim Burgess, 29, was the executive assistant to the CEO.
She was taking notes for the management team in Rogers’ office at 9:02 a.m.
The 18 people who were killed had worked for the credit union 128 years total tenure.
“So they were like family,” Rogers said.
“Sometimes it seems like yesterday,” said Talley. “I think about my co-workers, and I think about little things about them. Sometimes it seems like forever. I haven’t seen them in so long.”
We have mourned this loss a quarter century.
An ocean of tears have been shed for the 168 in a searing chapter of Oklahoma history.
But 25 years have not diminished the memory of those who were lost that fateful day.
Below is the raw unedited video from inside the Credit Union.