EF4 tornado in Shawnee Sunday destroys 75 percent of Bethel Acres; survivor remained in mobile home

SHAWNEE -The tornado outbreak really began Sunday in Shawnee when an EF4 blew through. It hit in Bethel Acres destroying 75 percent of the mobile homes in this area, however one man was inside when that tornado came through and survived.

RELATED LINK: Tornado levels homes in Shawnee trailer park southeast of Oklahoma City (http://bit.ly/shawneetornado)

Dan Schnackenberg is upright today, surveying what's left of his mobile home and possessions.

Sunday night, Schnackenberg found himself torn between going to a storm shelter or riding the storm out in his home. He chose to stay inside his home when the EF4 hit.

"Just in a minute, I was pinned over here, but my head was outside," Schnackenberg said. "The wall was on my chest. I pushed it up, pulled myself out."

Schnackenberg says the mattress thrown on top of him probably saved this life. So did a tree.

"This tree held this mobile home I really believe from ending up -- it could have probably ended up way back down here."

And that likely would have killed the Vietnam veteran.

His choice to stay inside the home sent his girlfriend Linda Ashlock into a tizzy -- to say the least.

"I telephoned Dan and I said, 'And why wasn't you in the storm cellar across the street?' very angrily, and he said, 'I just waited too long,'" Ashlock said

Something Dan will never do again.

"I made a terrible choice," Schnackenberg said. "I sure did. I, yeah, I'll never do that again."

When Schnackenberg's not cleaning up and looking for his possessions, he's been in contact with FEMA. He says a disaster relief trailer could be brought to him. A nice place to stay while he tries to figure out what is next.

Schnackenberg is among many that remain thankful in the midst of devastation.

"Pretty devastating," said Judi Smith, a Shawnee tornado survivor. "I've just lost everything. Don't have a car to drive. It's just pretty scary. Not my life though and not anything like the Moore people, so I'm very blessed."

 

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