Valley residents worry about family in Joplin
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The death toll in Joplin, Missouri has now risen to 116. Over 500 people have been injured. One fire chief described the scene as "catastrophic." The tornado has Valley residents worried about their friends and family there.
The scenes of destruction were hard to fathom for residents in Joplin, Missouri. They woke up to find widespread rubble. Many parts of their city had been flattened.
One man explained, "I'm trying to salvage what I can."
People said they're lucky just to have survived strong winds up to 200 miles an hour.
Natural gas fires added to the eerie scene as crews continued to search through debris for survivors.
An amateur storm chaser captured the twister as it touched down.
The seven-story St. John's Regional Medical Center lost its top two floors when the tornado hit.
Tornado survivor Mark Harrington said, "You heard a loud roar. All the windows started breaking and you heard things blowing through the hospital."
Many in the Valley have friends and family in Joplin. The Fresno-Madera chapter of the Red Cross fielded questions about how to contact loved ones in Missouri.
Executive Director Ellen Knapp said, "I would like people to understand that if they go to the Red Cross.org website, the national website. There is a safe and well button and at that, they can register they are concerned about whichever family members they are concerned about."
On our ABC30 Facebook page, Emily posted this message, "My sister and two nieces and a nephew are all ok. The tornado hit three blocks from her house. My brother in law is a police officer and spent all night pulling out bodies. Three elementary schools the middle school and Joplin high school are all destroyed. Many many prayers for them."
Sandra said, "My father lives in Joplin, he was in the Sam's Club when it hit, hopefully I can get some pictures from him. Thankfully he is completely safe, but my prayers go out to the others."
The local Red Cross deployed 13 volunteers to aid victims from other severe storms this spring. You can also donate ten-dollars to the tornado victims in Joplin by texting 90999 to the Red Cross.
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