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'They're rebuilding': Barnsdall refinery, nursing home aims to rebuild

Barnsdall rebuilding
Posted at 10:08 PM, Jun 06, 2024

BARNSDALL, Okla. — June 6 marked one month since an EF4 tornado devastated Barnsdall.

2 News caught up with Mayor Johnny Kelley who spoke about two of the town's main employers.

"Yes, they are rebuilding the plant as well as the nursing home. They’re rebuilding too. So, I spoke with the manager yesterday actually," said Kelley.

It’s news many waited to hear. Those two businesses helped fuel the town's economy along with one other the mayor said.
The tornado on May 6 took the lives of two people. In the weeks after the storm, the town was flooded with volunteers. But just 30 days later it was quiet.

"It’s a lot more quiet. It’s a lot more quiet and you’re doing a lot more cooking," said Barnsdall resident Garry Malone.

Malone’s home was spared but just two blocks down almost all of the homes were leveled.

Mayor Kelley said they're working to build this area all damaged areas.

"There are people that will build new homes here. There are people that are going to rebuild and stuff but yes, it will be rebuilt," said Kelley.

Kelley said the honeymoon period is over. He said the town was challenged going from large amounts of help to very little.

But he appreciates those who volunteered. It's now up to the residents. He said the city is looking into city codes and ordinances before families can get to rebuilding.

That was another challenge they faced, cutting through the red tape.

"If you need help, I’m the first guy to help you but you got to help yourself," said Kelley.

Both Kelley and Malone feel the future is bright for Barnsdall.

"They’re not holding us down. I think people are going to come back. I think it's going to be better than it was before. And it’s a testament to small towns in Oklahoma," said Malone.

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