LONE GROVE, Okla. — Susan Fambrough clutched her daughter Kaylee's hand to comfort the 13-year-old as a howling tornado bore down on their mobile home. Within moments, they were yanked apart as the swirling twister splintered the little house.
"She said she was just jerked out of her hands," said Danna McCord, Susan Fambrough's oldest daughter.
Kaylee emerged from the wreckage with minor injuries, but later Tuesday night, McCord's husband Stephen discovered the bodies of Susan Fambrough, 54, and her husband, Vincent, 48.
The two were among eight people killed by the Tuesday night tornado, said Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokesman Michelann Ooten. Another 14 were seriously injured. By Thursday, search and rescue efforts were finished, and it was time for residents to take on the daunting task of cleaning up debris and rebuilding 100 homes damaged or destroyed in the storm.
Others killed as the tornado ripped across the southern Oklahoma town of Lone Grove included an Air Force retiree, a trucker from Jones who was passing through the area and a well-liked clerk who worked the graveyard shift at a truck stop along Interstate 35.
Lone Grove City Manager Marianne Elfert said Thursday that 10 to 15 people are still unaccounted for, but they are believed to have simply left the area. She said Federal Emergency Management Agency officials would be assessing damage as the state works through the process of seeking federal assistance for uninsured losses.
Most utility service was restored by Thursday to the southern Oklahoma town of 4,600 people.
The state Medical Examiner's Office on Thursday identified the other victims as Tim Nevill, 36, a carrier for the U.S. Postal Service; Molly Hutchison, 53, a clerk at a Springer Truck stop; Gary Boyd Jr., 39, a truck driver from Jones; Donna McGarvey, 54, a retiree and South Dakota native; William Wheat, 78, an Air Force retiree; and Trevor Morgan, 30. All of the victims except Boyd lived in Lone Grove and all suffered some form of blunt force trauma, said Cherokee Ballard, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office.
Residents sorted through belongings Thursday, beginning cleanup and checking on friends and relatives.
Lynn Self sifted through the debris of a mobile home where he said his friend's wife died. He said his friend is living with him temporarily and does not want his name released. The tornado picked the couple's mobile home off its foundation and tossed the contents over a wide area.
"They actually found some of the belongings from this house down there," Self said, pointing to a pile of debris 100 yards away. The couple's four dogs all survived and were found inside one of their demolished cars.
The storm took many by surprise because even in tornado-prone Oklahoma, February twisters are rare. According to the weather service, 44 have touched down in the state during the month of February since 1950.