The Edmond Sun

Local News

May 31, 2011

Adfitech founder recounts tornado losses

EDMOND — Tom Apel watched as his security camera televised an EF-4 tornado wrecking his Guthrie property last week. Safe at his Edmond home, Apel saw the tornado batter his airplanes and cabin in a swirling mass.

“You could see the tornado, the debris cloud and everything,” Apel said. “… Except for the living area and kitchen, it’s all pretty much gone.”

His property 5 miles north of Waterloo on State Highway 74 was devastated with the loss of an equipment barn, two hangars, his six airplanes, two horse barns and three horses on May 24.

The planes were being pulled apart Tuesday to see what could be salvaged, said Apel, the founder of Adfitech in Edmond.

“You just kind of pick it up one piece at a time and figure out what to do with it,” he said.

A group of youth from his younger brother’s church helped pick up debris. Many of his pilot friends also came to help him clean up his three quarter sections of property.

“Although we mourned the loss of six beautiful airplanes, we were not mourning the loss of our friend or any of his family,” said Dave White of Deer Creek.

Apel said his brother, Jim Apel, lost everything he had while living in the house on the property.

“Ours is just stuff. It can be replaced, but you know they lost their whole life,” Apel said. “Luckily nobody was hurt.”

Ten fatalities occurred May 24 along the 75-mile path this tornado took, according to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner. The Logan County tornado began about 3:30 p.m. 8 miles northwest of Binger and ended 4 miles northeast of Guthrie at 5:35 p.m., said Daryl Williams, NWS weather forecaster.

Seven tornadoes occurred over the central third of Oklahoma, according to the National Weather Service. Three tornadoes were rated at least EF-4, one tornado was rated EF-3, one tornado was rated EF-2 and two tornadoes have not been rated, according to the report.

Guthrie City Manager Matt Mueller said insurance adjusters have requested two reconstruction estimates for three public works structures that must be completely replaced in Guthrie.

“So they haven’t made a determination of what type of dollar amount they’re going to give us on that yet,” Mueller said. “We’re still collecting brush and debris and working with the insurance companies.”

jcoburn@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 114

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