Dunkirk native survives latest storms that hit Oklahoma

By SAMANTHA

MCDONNELL

OBSERVER Staff Writer

More tornadoes injured dozens and killed at least nine in Oklahoma City Friday a week after a tornado ripped through Moore, Okla. A former Dunkirk resident living in Oklahoma City reassured her mother that she was “not dead.”

Pauline Burbee of Fredonia heard from her daughter Jessi Crino late Friday night following the tornado that tore through Crino’s current city of 10 years. Burbee said she has talked to her daughter and that several tornadoes touched down. She said she got a text message from Crino saying she was OK.

“(Friday) night I was outside because it was beautiful. I had left the TV on, and I came in with the dog and it was on Channel 2. It had a ticker that said, ‘More tornado outbreaks in Oklahoma City.’ I texted (Jessi) knowing what time it was and knowing she should have been at the ballpark. We have this ongoing thing so I just texted her. She texted back saying ‘I’m not dead mom,'” Burbee told the OBSERVER.

Crino took shelter underground in the baseball field where she works following her normal job at a television station in Oklahoma City. They were waiting for the rain to stop before leaving the underground shelter. Crino thought she was waiting out a big storm unaware it was an actual tornado. She was fortunate enough to get out of work early and travel Interstate 40, a local highway, and make it to the baseball field before the tornado touched down. Crino’s roommate and dog were unharmed after taking shelter in a basement.

“Jessi, herself did not know (it was a tornado) because she was in the middle of one of them. She was at the baseball field (Friday). When she gets out of work, sometimes there are games and she works at the games at her own job (at the TV station),” Burbee said. “Jessi had already gotten to the ballpark from her job… and the ballpark is in central Oklahoma City. It’s right near I-40. … They started the game then they heard the sirens. When you hear those sirens, you don’t mess around. You find shelter.”

Crino, who graduated from Dunkirk High School in 1999, helped a coworker whose home was totally destroyed by the tornado that touched down in Moore, Okla. prior to Friday’s tornado. She sent her mother some photos of what used to be the house, saying it, “looked like empty lots full of rubble.” Crino said the University of Oklahoma has opened dorms for residents to stay in.

Burbee says she is a typical mother and worries. Crino has been living in Oklahoma for the past decade and this is tornado season.

“Oklahoma City is called tornado alley,” Burbee said. “This is tornado season.”

Burbee urged residents to support the Red Cross anyway they can and monetary donations are needed. To donate, visit the redcross.org/charitable-donations to make a monetary donation to disaster relief funds.

“They’re doing it for others and now that they got hit, it’s somebody else’s turn to help them,” Burbee said.

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