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Barnsdall family loses everything but their lives in tornado

Posted at 4:47 PM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-08 20:15:27-04

PAWHUSKA, Okla. — Becky and Landon Ramsey celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary in April. 

Just one month later, they are in the Red Cross Shelter at the Osage County Fairgrounds in Pawhuska. They lost everything but their lives when an EF4 tornado ripped through Barnsdall on May 6.

The National Weather Service rated that storm an EF4.

Becky shook as she recalled that night. It started with the six members of her family watching wrestling matches on TV. It ended with her grandkids begging her to come with the rest of the family to take shelter in the bathroom.

“I waited until the last minute to go to the bathroom,” she said, “because my grandkids kept tellin’ me, 'Nana we need to go to the bathroom, we need to go to the bathroom.' I said I’m standing on faith, the Good Lord is gonna take care of me, us. And then my granddaughter, the youngest one, said the 'Good Lord takes care of those who take care themselves. Or helps those that help themselves.' I’ll never live down that one down. She was right because I was the last one to the bathroom ‘cause I was the last one to get up. When I saw the tornado take the windows where I was sittin’ I got up to get to the bathroom and then the door slammed in my face.”

The force of the storm pulled the bathroom door shut with her trapped outside. Her husband Landon explained what happened next:

"It caught my wife in the hallway, the door sucked in on us, blocked her in while she was coming in to the safety of the bathroom. My son and I tried to break the door, the hinges, all of the sudden it popped and as soon as we got in the bathroom the roof started comin’ off.” 

Becky said, “They ripped the door off its hinges to get to me and pull me into the safety of the bathroom." 

Now, Becky, Landon, their son and three grandchildren are finding a safe haven in the red cross shelter at the Osage county fairgrounds in Pawhuska as they wait to find a more permanent home.

The shelter is set up to house up to 150 people as well as provide snacks, hot meals, and whatever other assistance folks might need.

Only about a dozen people checked in by May 8. The shelter’s director tells us most survivors of the Barnsdall tornado are staying with family or friends.

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