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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Volunteers, first reponders gather after tornado hits area

  • Jim Kinnamon of Shawnee showed up Sunday night at the Expo Center driving a pickup truck pulling a tractor with a front end loader. He was told to head to Bethel Road north of the river where the roadway was completely blocked because of a down tree.
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  • Jim Kinnamon of Shawnee showed up Sunday night at the Expo Center driving a pickup truck pulling a tractor with a front end loader. He was told to head to Bethel Road north of the river where the roadway was completely blocked because of a down tree.
    Another woman, a home health nurse, showed up at the Expo and wanted to know if she could help anywhere.
    Billy Canada, who lives just outside the city limits, went and got on his tractor and moved trees which were partially blocking Coker Road south of 45th Street.
    Police officers, firefighters, mainly volunteer type, but many also paid, emergency responders, sheriff deputies, drug task force personnel, the area game warden, OSBI, and Salvation Army officials and Red Cross personnel were among the several hundred who gathered at the Expo early and late Sunday night in the aftermath of the killer tornado which struck the area Sunday evening.
    All were there with one thing in mind, how could they help and where were they needed.
    Kim Narry, 17, a Bethel High School student, along with her grandparents went to a friend's cellar in the area of Shawnee Twin Lakes. They were among some of the fortunate ones.
    They waited out the storm as they heard it pass overhead.
    "We could hear it whistling as it went over us," she said late Sunday night. She said they weren't in the cellar very long, but it was long enough.
    The volunteers and officials came from several different counties, among them Pottawatomie, Lincoln, Seminole, McClain and Grady.
    Shawnee Police Chief Russell Frantz was in charge of coordinating the activity at the Expo Center.
    "We're checking the damaged areas looking for victims, people who might be trapped. We're doing damage assessment," Frantz explained, noting also that power poles were down in some areas and there were reports of broken gas lines.
    One of the teams was sent to the area of Garrett's Lake Road and Coker Road, several miles north of Shawnee.
    Frantz said some of the damaged areas he was aware of included Lake Road and Walker Road, the Bethel Acres area, Garrett Lake Road and Coker, Bethel Road near 45th and the U.S. 270 area and southwest of the I-40 and U.S. 177 intersection where cars and truck were both reportedly blown off the roadway.
    Pottawatomie County's State Game Warden Mike France said he was on vacation, but he heard there was a call for help and that is the reason he showed up.
    State Sen. Ron Sharp, who was at the Expo, said his office had made contact with the Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Thompson and if needed Thompson would activate the National Guard. But Sharp said local officials said they were handling it OK at this time.
    Page 2 of 2 - Assistant Tecumseh Police Chief J.R. Kidney made arrangements for a Tecumseh school bus to take those who were without shelter to either the Shawnee High School Athletic facility which had been set up as a shelter or to local hotels.
    The school bus was sent to the Steelman Estates area, believed to be one of the hardest hit, where several trailer homes reportedly were destroyed.

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