Bristow animal rescue hit hard by Tuesday storms

Posted at 12:33 PM, May 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 19:18:29-04

An animal rescue that mostly caters to farm animals bore the brunt of Tuesday night's severe weather as the storm system approached Bristow.

Once the system reached West 201st Street South near Highway 16 at close to 5:30 p.m., Beth and Gary Roberts, their 14-year-old daughter, a litter of kittens, a puppy and three adult dogs hunkered down in their storm cellar.

"It was like a really loud humming. We knew something was coming over us immediately because the pressure in everybody’s ears was hurting. So we knew at that time it was hitting us,” homeowner Beth Roberts explained.

Having grown up around tornadoes, Roberts says she recalls sitting on her roof and watching them pass by as a child.

What she experienced Tuesday night was a first.

"Breaking glass, twisting boards. We could tell that the roof was coming in,” she said.

When the Roberts family emerged from their shelter, they were shocked to see the damage to the other structures outside their home.

Their acreage is home to Bristow Furry Friends, an animal rescue that, until last night, housed at least 100 animals.

“Out here is where everybody was. As you can see, goats, chickens, ducks. The dog kennels were here. They’re completely gone. We had rabbits, geese, potbelly pigs. The large animals were down the hill. That’s where we lost a horse,” Roberts said as she surveyed the damage Wednesday morning.

For the Roberts family, restoring their recently renovated home will be preceded by rebuilding structures for the animals that survived, which includes ducks, goats and a cow.

“That’s, I think, the most heartbreaking part. I mean, you know, the house can be recovered. It’s the lives that bothered me the most.”

Around noon on Wednesday, the National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down northwest of Bristow and it was given a preliminary rating of EF1. 

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