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ROGERS COUNTY UPDATE: Residents get information on relief efforts

Posted at 6:03 PM, May 30, 2024

ROGERS COUNTY, Okla. — Cleanup for more than one hundred homes east of Claremore is still just beginning, and sights like houses missing roofs won't go away without a lot of work.

"It's just overwhelming," resident Jim Dalton said. "Because you're always worried, 'Am I doing the right stuff?' Should I wait for the insurance people who are (also) overwhelmed?'"

The May 25 tornado thrashed the side and second story of the Daltons' house. On Thursday the family Christmas trees still could be seen poking out of the attic.

"But the important thing is we're okay and our animals survived even though they weren't in the bathroom with us," Dalton added.

Some new answers are available, as of May 30. During a Thursday morning press conference, officials announced that FEMA is performing preliminary assessments while the county awaits a disaster declaration.

"We're getting a good run on it right now," Rogers County Commissioner Dan DeLozier said of green waste cleanup. "We're gonna get a lot of this stuff out of here today, out of the additions. Then we're going to continue onto the roads themselves."

Delozier asks residents to keep the tree and house waste curbside and off the roads.

Thursday's press conference called by county officials focused on county residents, more than a hundred of which are displaced. According to Verdigris Valley Electric (VVE), power is mostly restored, but many houses can't connect because they're so damaged.

"Then at that point, the member assumes liability to turn that breaker on," Danny Bement of VVE said. "If that member is not home, we're leaving a note for them and letting them know they need to have a licensed electrician inspect that subpanel."

American Red Cross trucks will continue to provide meals and supplies, as will volunteers gathered at Eastern Hills Baptist Church, Commissioner Dan DeLozier said.

That comes in handy for Robby Wann, who said he's still in shock.

"You always see it on the news, these things happen in other towns. But whenever it happens here it's like, everybody gets shaken up," Wann said while collecting supplies for his niece. "So we're just trying to do what we can, gather what resources we can to help our friends and families that are in need right now."

Rogers County EMA announced temporary cell towers will be available east of Will Rogers Downs.

Officials in the press conference also said the active 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew will likely continue for the area past June 1.

"This is for our affected people's protection," deputy county EMA director Steve Massey said. "And I hope you guys understand that we're not trying to control anything. We're not trying to take over the world. That is not what's going on. This is simply to protect our people who are affected."

Dalton knows he's going to need the time to get his upside-down horse trailer - and his home right side up. He's looking on the bright side though.

"This just confirms my belief that people are good, they want to help. And we appreciate everybody's help," he said.

Three people in Rogers County were seriously injured by the storm and sent to the hospital, but 2 News is still waiting for an update on their conditions as of May 30.

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