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700-800 homes damaged in Rogers County tornado, officials say

Posted at 1:18 PM, May 28, 2024

ROGERS COUNTY, Okla. — Rogers County officials gave updates on debris cleaning, looting and damage surveying at a press conference on May 28.

Rogers County Emergency Management Deputy Director Steve Massey estimated that 700-800 homes were damaged in the May 25 tornado.

Closer look at damage in Claremore

An Emergency Declaration was made by the City of Claremore and Rogers County and officials are working with FEMA to get assistance from them.

The officials are asking those wanting to bring donations to hold off as crews continue to work.

“It’s not that we don’t want help, we just can’t have it at this point," Massey said.

District 1 County Commissioner Dan DeLozier said green debris removal is moving along well and they are working to put out dumpsters. Some residents have already begun to burn their green debris, but they should check their local laws to ensure they're doing so safely.

When asked if they need assistance with debris removal, DeLozier said, "We can handle it."

DeLozier said the area along 4200 Road in Rogers County saw the most significant damage.

“A lot of houses destroyed around there," he said. "Probably more destroyed there than are in good shape."

He said some residents in the area felt alone in the first days after the storm, but it just took time to clear the roads to reach those people in more rural places.

Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton addressed concerns of looting in the county after the tornado.
He said one man, Koby Thompson, was arrested for planning to loot with a group of people. Claremore Police officers proactively arrested him as he was leaving his home to commit the crime while having a mask on and tools in his possession, according to an arrest affidavit.

“We were able to intercept him. He did have lots of evidence of what he was trying to do," Claremore police chief Steve Cox said. "The last report, we think it’s numerous burglaries he’s going to be responsible for.”

Walton said Thompson already had arrest warrants issued by Cherokee Nation. The sheriff said law enforcement is out and about looking for those with bad intentions amid the natural disaster.

"We’re not soft on crime," Walton said. "I think anybody that would take advantage of a person that’s already been victimized in a situation like that kinda stretches it to another level. I’ll say it again I think there’s a special place in hell for those individuals and we’ll try to help them get there.”

He said the 10 p.m. - 6 a.m. curfew is still in place to keep residents safe.

All three officials said they're lifelong residents of Rogers County and that they've never seen a storm do this much widespread damage.

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