Tornado kills one, destroys school in Oklahoma town

OKLAHOMA CITY Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:20am EDT

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OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - A tornado killed at least one person and destroyed the only school in the small southeastern Oklahoma town of Tushka on Thursday evening, authorities said.

The tornado, spawned by a cold front that swept through the state, struck about 7 p.m., residents said.

"It looked like Tushka School is pretty well wiped out. It's totaled," said Bennie Evans, chairman of the local school board.

The tornado also damaged about a dozen homes, a propane business and a fruit stand and left downed trees and powerlines around the town, Evans said.

Michelann Ooten, spokeswoman for the state Office of Emergency Management, said the state medical examiner's office confirmed one death from the storm.

At least 25 people were treated at Atoka Medical Center, said spokeswoman April McElmury. Most of the injured were released but a few were admitted to the hospital, she said.

The high winds rolled semi trucks onto their side, said Regina Cooper, a dispatcher with the Atoka County Sheriff's Department.

Some residents of the small town remained trapped either in their homes or their storm shelters several hours after the tornado struck because of the heavy debris, said Kim Winters, jail administrator for the Atoka County Sheriff's Department.

"We're going door to door right now checking," she said.

The school in Tushka, located 135 miles south of Oklahoma City, served 496 students from kindergarten through high school.

U.S. Highway 69 northbound was closed to clear the debris, according to the Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management.

(Editing by Peter Bohan and Jerry Norton)

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Comments (1)
Trellie wrote:
Tushka is 136 miles south of Tulsa, not OKC.

Apr 15, 2011 10:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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