911 calls tell storm's story

By: Gabriel Roxas Email
By: Gabriel Roxas Email

The calls are filled with voices of fear and panic. WKYT received 911 dispatch tapes from the day a deadly tornado tore through West Liberty and other parts of Morgan County.

In the late afternoon of March 2nd people throughout Morgan County had been monitoring tornado warnings in nearby counties, calling the dispatch center to ask about storm shelters, but most still hoped the storms might pass them. Soon 911 operators began taking calls from across the area helping them track the path of the storm headed their way.

Operator: 911, where's your emergency?
Caller: This is the Country Corner in Ezel, and there is a tornado coming over in Ezel by the Country
Corner grocery going over towards Saw Mill Road.

Within minutes the helpful calls shifted to calls for help.

Operator: Morgan County 911, where's your emergency?
Caller: Uh, I'm between Ezel and Wellington.
Operator: Uh, huh.
Caller: And I got caught in a tornado or something.
Operator: Okay, are you hurt?
Caller: Yes.
Operator: How bad are you hurt, sir?
Caller: I don't know. I'm bleeding.

Caller: We need to know which way the tornadoes are headed.
Operator: They're everywhere. They're everywhere.
Caller: They're everywhere?
Operator: Tornadoes are everywhere.
Caller: Oh my God.
Operator: Just get to a safe place.

It was advice that even emergency workers eventually had to heed. In the end the storm claimed the lives of six in Morgan County, a number far too high, but perhaps lower than it might have been if not for emergency personnel there to lend an ear.


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