A single tornado in the group of more than a dozen storms that have ravaged Oklahoma reportedly hit Briarwood Elementary School and Plaza Towers Elementary School where up to 75 children hid in bathrooms, according to ABC News.
“I was in my classroom and we were told to get in our tornado precaution systems,” a sixth grade student from Briarwood Elementary named Brady told KOCO. “But when they moved us to the boys and girls bathroom, then some kids were not following directions, staying away from under the sinks and stuff, and they got under there and cinder blocks and everything collapsed on them. They were underneath, so that kind of saved them a little bit."
While The Associated Press reported earlier that there were some children still trapped under the rubble at Plaza Towers Elementary, First responders tell ABC news that all children from both Briarwood Elementary and Plaza Towers Elementary are now safe and accounted for. Although AP now reports that two area hospitals are treating more than 150 patients, 70 of them are children, at least two of which came from Plaza Towers Elementary School, and at least 37 are dead.
Felicia, a caretaker at Today's Blessings daycare in Oklahoma, tells ABC News, "We knew the storms were coming and my phone started going off letting us know there was an alert. We filed the kids straight into the bathroom, put nap mats on their backs and waited it out. We sing and tell stories and do what we have to do to keep the kids from crying and freaking out." Every child cared for at Today's Blessings is safe with their families as the center only suffered from falling debris.
Oklahoma Lt. Governor Todd Lamb tells ABC Radio, "Schools have been hit, a hospital has been hit, businesses have been flattened, neighborhoods have been wiped away—we don’t have the numbers in yet but it is going to be significant and it is going to be horrific.”
The tornado is estimated at EF-4 with winds up to 200 mph.
President Obama has contacted Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin offering FEMA assistance should the state need it. “The president has called me,” Fallin confirmed. “He has offered to do anything he can to help with red tape to help with the federal entities. We actually had someone from FEMA that arrived yesterday.”
We will report more as information becomes available.