Hunkered in 'safe room,' Oklahoma family had no idea top floors were blown away
The Wood family's dog, Roxie, stands in front of the family's destroyed home.
May 25th, 2011
03:09 PM ET

Hunkered in 'safe room,' Oklahoma family had no idea top floors were blown away

After crawling and climbing over mangled wooden debris, a couch and a water heater blocking the staircase, we made it, to what used to be the second floor of Frank Wood's home in Piedmont, Oklahoma.

"This is it," Wood said, looking out over his 12-acre lot. "We used to have a beautiful view."

Frank Wood and his two children survived a direct hit on their home by a tornado that ripped across Oklahoma on Tuesday afternoon.

The Woods' home was originally three stories tall, but the top floor is nowhere to be found. Frank Wood's pickup truck is a mangled mess, sitting in a ditch 300 yards from the driveway.

The family survived because of a "safe room" built into the garage. Frank Wood rushed into the safe room and locked it.

Roxie, the Wood family

He says the room is so fortified that he had no idea how bad the damage was until he walked out and realized the top two floors of the house had been blown off.

As the family rushed into the safe room, they weren't able to grab their dog, Roxie. After the storm passed, the kids rushed out to find the tan boxer, but she was gone.

But Wednesday morning, Frank Wood finally got some good news. An oil rig worker almost two miles away had found Roxie wandering around in a field, unscathed except for a small scratch on a front leg.

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Filed under: Oklahoma • On the Ground • Tornadoes
soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. LOLA

    Linda, I agree – it's a matter of priorities. If they had enough time to videotape what was happening they had enough time to grab the dog. It's just a matter of priorities.

    May 26, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • stacey

      who are you to judge? this family and that little girl have probably gone through more than most people can ever imagine.

      May 26, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just saying.....

      Where are you getting that the family took a video of the event?

      You smoking?

      May 26, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      @ Just saying... Watch the video again. Notice the amaturish choppy footage of the tornado at the beginning of the clip and how the voiceover announces that it's footage from moments before the tornado struck? I'm pretty sure that's where LOLA was getting it from.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • randomanonymousblackmail

      If you have ever owned a Boxer, you would know that you cannot just grab them and bring them inside.

      May 27, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jonathan

    These people could care less about their dog..Sad to see people like this.

    May 26, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      It hardly seems to me that they didn't care about the dog. I am a dog owner, and I love my dog VERY much, but as a parent, in a situation like that I would be more concerned with making sure my children were safe and THEN worry about my pets. His whole house was destroyed, think about what would have happened to him and his children had he went out to drag the dog in before he locked up the safe room? I'm sorry if this offends you, but until you are faced with a situation like this (and God willing you won't be), it is unfair to judge.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • pazke

      I agree with Julie. I am a huge animal lover. My cats are my babies. BUT if I had to choose I would not risk my children's lives to save them. Those of you who think you would die saving your pets, I bet you wouldn't if you were actually in the situation.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      You're sad that the dad was able to put his family's safety above the dog...Jonathan, try re-reading what you just wrote in the context of what they are truly living through...seriously, what would have been a better response?

      May 27, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. TLB

    That's one tough dog. I'm sure he was airborne for awhile. It's a shame that their house was destroyed. I hope they'll be o.k. and are able to re-build.

    May 26, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rick Calvert

    From the pictures it doesn't appear that "these people could care less about their dog". What are you smoking? And LOLA, you write "If they had enough time to videotape what was happening they had enough time to grab the dog". Uh, you do realize the videotape was from CNN AFTER THE TORNADO, RIGHT? The losers here have nothing to do with the article. Have a little heart.

    May 26, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just saying.....

      LOLA is a prime example of our current education system.


      Gawd, I hope you do not reproduce.

      May 26, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Really? CNN just happened to be at their house to film the oncomming tornado? Pay attention people. The homeowner videotaped the tornado quickly before going into the safe room. The dog was there with them but obviously didn't want to go into the room. Some dogs simply don't like going into small spaces like that. The house wasn't completely gone so it's not completely surprising the dog survived...White trash doesnt' speak clearly or live in a 3 story brick home w/ a safe room. They had money, they care for the dog but when push comes to shove the lives of your wife, kids and self come first. Get a grip... Beautiful dog!

      May 26, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • pazke

      This guy was filming the tornado as it approached his house. He was probably thinking ahead to getting his mug on the news. Can't you tell the difference between his footage before the tornado and the professional footage after the tornado? And who calls the press to accompany them to the field to go pick up their dog? The dog wasn't even happy to see him.

      May 27, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. jeff

    My dogs would of been the first ones into the safe room. Probably would of run me over getting there.

    May 26, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jenny A

    We had a tornado to hit near our home when we lived in kentucky. As we ran to hunker down in the bathroom, our 3 english springer spaniels beat us into the bathroom!! LOL It was like they knew what was happening. There was no need to try and gather them at all. They were beating us to it.

    May 26, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sarah

    I have two labs – one that would have run straight into any shelter, the other, well, he just likes to run and probably would not have let me catch him with all the ruckus going on. Go Roxie! Frank Wood and family, I have a pretty place in VT- dog friendly home with gorgeous views. I am offering it to you, the kids and especially Roxie if you want someplace with a view in a non-tornado zone to chill for a week or so.

    May 26, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      It's so nice to see someone who isn't using this post to pass judgment on these poor people. God Bless you for your kindness!

      May 26, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Just saying.....

    LOLA – Where are you and the other stupid people getting the information that the family made a video instead of grabbing their dog???????????
    The video was taken by CNN.
    “Everyone has a right to be stupid; some people just abuse the privilege.” You are an abuser.

    May 26, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ted

      Before calling people stupid, read the top right corner in the video "Home Video". I never knew CNN makes home videos nowadays. The dad's voice is also similar to the voice in the home video. The reporter also said "just before Frank Woods scrambled up the stairs" as the video footage comes out of the stairs and films the tornado. It doesn't take a genius to find out 1+1=2 but apparently not everyone can do it.

      May 26, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • phil

      Did you WATCH THE VIDEO? Who are you to call people stupid? Jesus.

      May 27, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. Craig S.

    Boxers are dumb dogs. I own one. Interestingly enough, her name is Roxie.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sheila

    If you got time to grab the kid, you got time to grab the dog. GRAB, not coax. Screw them.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erin

      Grab a boxer?! Have you ever met a boxer? They are strong, powerful dogs and they aren't portable like a chihuahua or something. If that dog didn't want to get into the saferoom, it would have been tricky to get her in. Maybe she was hiding, for all any of us know. I can't imagine that they were just like... it's ok, she'll be fiiiine, just leave her, without any attempt to try to get her in.

      May 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ducatimommymo

    Storm shelters/safe rooms can be remarkably safe in storms. They are also stuffy and a bit claustrophobic. I've been in one. I agree folks should decide themselves about adding one but I live 60 miles from Joplin and did not put one in. We have a basement that I feel adds adequate shelter. I still want to know how many people died in basements in these storms.
    Perhaps the boxer sensed everyone's stress and wanted to avoid it? My border collie tried to run from thunderstorms many times but only exposed herself to more dangers in doing so. I wish I could communicate with dogs better...

    May 26, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jack Bauer

    Actually, after watching this, it looks like part of the video was made by the family as the tornado was happening and Frank was providing commentary and it was spliced in with the other CNN video.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JustAnOpinion

    Anyone whos saying "if youre a parent you would... blah blah blah"....Point of the matter is this man had enough time to whip out his cell and put a raging tornado on video, he had enough time to grab his dog instead. Definitely not people who call their dog a family member. You wouldn'y leave your 5 year old out in a tornado would you? Have compassion for all living things. A dog is of no less importance. Again, its all because he had time to video tape.. otherwise this story would be amazing, but it lost all my respect at the videotaping.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chelsea

    I'm sorry, but I will never take cover and leave my animals behind. We all survive together or we all perish together. My animals are my world. Too bad this dog owner doesn't feel the same.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tracey

      Yes, that's too bad he didn't orphan his children. Better yet, he should have sent the kids after the dog, amirite? I mean, really, what are the lives of a father and his children compared with that of one dog?

      May 27, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
    • pazke

      Chelsea, I think you're wrong. I hope you never have to find out which one of us is correct.

      May 27, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe Bob


      May 27, 2011 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. pazke

    Okay, I still maintain my other statement that I wouldn't risk my children's lives to go after the dog. BUT, now that I've watched the video instead of just reading the article – the guy is an a s s . I would NEVER have stood on the balcony filming. I would have been in that safe room with the kids and the dog as soon as the sirens weht off. And they reunion? How convenient that their happened to be reporters there. The oil rig worker seemed to like the dog more than the family did. The reunion was very ackward and the dog didn't seem at all happy to see the family. This guy probably bought the dog to be a watchdog and protect all of his "valuables". LOSER.

    May 27, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
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