Oak Grove residents continue to clean up homes and cemetery damage after tornado

OAK GROVE, Mo. - The damage to Oak Grove was widespread from an EF3 tornado Monday night. Wind speeds were up to 150 miles per hour and about 500 houses or businesses destroyed.

When you take a look at Rick Parr's home, you wonder how anyone inside could have survived.

Several of his walls were completely ripped off, his bedroom missing two walls and his roof and garage completely gone.

It was a close call for he and his wife.

"We were saved from this, and we actually have that attitude all the time. The rest is just stuff it can be replaced," said Parr.

Parr got a call from his daughter about six seconds before his home was all but taken away in the tornado. She told him to seek shelter, and that's what he and his wife did, just in the knick of time.

"The wife was feeling the pressure in her head. And she said get down and we were down the steps in just a little bit. We heard a big, loud thump. I looked up and saw the sky. The roof was gone at that point," said Parr.

Parr says one thing that surprised him was most of their belongings stayed right in the home, even though their walls were taken away.

Volunteers from Oak Grove schools helped him pick up some salvageable items from his house Wednesday.

Houses are not the only things that sustained considerable damage.

"The devastation of everything how bad it was. I grew up in Oak Grove, and we've never been hit by a tornado," said David Clampitt.

Clampitt came to the cemetery in Oak Grove to check on his first wife's and son's tombstones.

He couldn't drive back because there were downed powerlines and trees scattered across the graveyard. Instead, he walked to their plots.

What he found was hard to see. Up to half of the headstones had both been knocked over.

Clampitt says he has some connection to many of the people buried there.

"I almost didn't come back here. I almost just decided to go back home and wait till I could drive back here. I had to come back and check them," said Clampitt.

Clampett and others visiting the cemetery said they hoped the debris would be cleared and tombstones fixed soon.






Belinda Post can be reached at belinda.post@kshb.com.

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