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Tornado Rips Through Oklahoma City

Two men stand in front of Plaza Towers Elementary after a tornado destroyed the school on Monday.
Bryan Terry/AP

The hell he saw was harrowing, but it’s the sounds at Plaza Towers Elementary that Stuart Earnest Jr. says will haunt him forever.

“All you could hear were screams,” Earnest said. “The people screaming for help. And the people trying to help were also screaming.”

Plaza Towers, a pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade school, took a direct hit when a titanic tornado chewed a deadly and destructive 20-mile path through Newcastle, Moore and parts of southern Oklahoma City for 40 minutes Monday afternoon.

Classes were still in session at Plaza Towers when the twister, estimated to be packing winds of 200 mph or greater, crushed nearly every corner of the school. Teachers’ cars were thrown into the building, and the playground no longer exists.

“I can only hope those little kids killed didn't suffer,” said Earnest, one of many who rushed to the school to help survivors.

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