Joplin residents, businesses pick up pieces
Fred Ferguson’s Joplin insurance business was destroyed, but he was able to salvage a file cabinet that had client records.
May 25th, 2011
11:10 PM ET

Joplin residents, businesses pick up pieces

[Updated at 11:10 p.m. ET] Storm-battered Joplin, Missouri, continued search-and-rescue efforts Wednesday, three days after a killer tornado tore through the city of 50,000 people.

Even as cleanup crews with frayed nerves sifted through the rubble, twisters and severe weather churned through America's heartland. More than 60 Oklahoma counties were under a state of emergency Wednesday due to a tornado watch.

The power of a top-scale EF5 tornado, with winds of 200 mph, was nowhere more evident than in Joplin, a city at the intersection of Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

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On Tuesday, residents and business owners literally picked up the pieces as they reflected on the twister that has killed at least 125 people and left more than 1,500 unaccounted for.

John Dotson’s Cherry Berry yogurt bar was open for just nine days before being leveled in Sunday night's twister.

Dotson, his wife and employees survived by huddling in the back office and restrooms.

Fred Ferguson said 36 years of his life's work went up in a violent whirl when the twister roared through his insurance business.

The sole employee in the building survived the tornado, he said, as did the vital records in a file cabinet. Ferguson also said he was able to salvage the office computer, which he’ll get his son-in-law to check out.

Cecelia Beveridge stands near the closet that sheltered her.

Also sifting through rubble Tuesday were Henry and Cecelia Beveridge, who were staying with Cecelia's elderly mother when the storm hit. Though much of the house was demolished in the storm, the mother survived by sitting in a pantry, and Cecelia and Henry survived by huddling in a closet.

Standing in the closet, she heard a sliding glass door crack.

"I was like, 'We’re in for it. I knew then that we were in trouble,'" she said. "So we just stood huddled in here, and the next thing we knew, the roof was off, and we were getting hail and rain and everything on us."

“I had my arms locked around my husband, and I was just saying, 'Please, dear God in heaven, just let us all get out of this alive. That’s all I ask. Just let us get out of here alive.'"

The nearby living room, dining room and kitchen were heavily damaged, and the master bedroom has no wall left. But the three came out relatively unscathed.

"All I could think of was we were going to be sucked out. … But for whatever reason, it didn’t do that," she said.

soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Ellis

    I eat poop

    May 25, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ellis

    Viva Panama! Yea!!!!!

    May 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ellis

    Don't let them fool you. Pick up the pieces but don't fall for a reverse mortgage!

    May 25, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cesar

    Shut up Ellis. Go back to Panama stupid!

    May 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |


    May 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy

    1500 unaccounted for.
    What a horrendous tragedy.

    May 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. obbop

    Writing from east of Joplin, MO.

    Obama, stay away.

    Get your beloved photo-op elsewhere.

    The tie-ups your presence will cause will only hinder/hamper recovery efforts.

    How about diverting the funds that would be spent in your personal publicity seeking be used to buy some food for the huge number of working-poor citizens hereabouts?

    The only one to gain from your visit is you, Obama.

    May 25, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Big Game James

    Real positive outlook there. Displaced anger...symptom of PTSD. Stop worrying about politicians and get back to helping each other.

    May 25, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. santos

    I watched on TV program. Terrible

    May 26, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Joey

    I like to get down with a large black simian at night.

    May 26, 2011 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. large bl@ck simian

    Me like Joey chocolate dispenser

    May 26, 2011 at 4:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. susan

    Some of the childish comments above make me sick!! There are people suffering that can't find their family members, don't have homes possibliy no job because of this horrible disaster and you post stuff like that. I do agree with the person from East of Joplin (as I am too) Obama, go some where else for your Photo op, we can take care of our own here...thanks but we won't and don't need a Government hand out!!

    May 26, 2011 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Big Game James

      So you speak for all of Joplin? And why are you blogging instead of helping someone with the cleanup and searches? Starts at home people...starts at home. I

      May 26, 2011 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. leeintulsa

    They are still looking for a three year old from Piedmont, OK.

    May 26, 2011 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. uncle_walter87

    @Big Game James. I'm blogging for a brief bit, and I've been working in various capacities since Sunday night when it hit. She's grieving. Let her be.

    May 26, 2011 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. Big Game James

    Understandable. Texted to Red Cross to donate. Challenge others to do the same.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
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