Tornadoes hammer Oklahoma; auto shops aid rescue effort

Automotive repair shops that were fortunate enough to escape the destruction caused by tornadoes that swept though areas south of Okahoma City Monday struggled with power outages as rescue crews removed debris from the streets. The tornadoes killed 51 people and destroyed an elementary school in Moore, a southern surburb.

Some automotive repair shops that escaped damage joined in rescue efforts by donating supplies and serving as drop off locations for homeowners in need of food and shelter.

Holly Parman, owner of Auto Care Specialist, located on the northern side of Oklahoma City, said her only inconvenience so far was not being able to get some auto part deliveries. Some part stores, she noted, are unable to deliver because they are understaffed as a result of the damage.

David Stanley Chevrolet, a dealership which has three locations in Oklahoma City, is serving as a drop-off for people who want to donate supplies for people who have lost their homes, noted Gary Ferren, new car sales manager for the company. “A lot of our customers are homeless and carless,” he said.

Ferren said his company was lucky since none of its three buildings were damaged. He noted that business has suffered because of closed roads, but roads were reopening by early Tuesday.

Several auto repair shops did not answer phones Tuesday morning when called by Professional Tool & Equipment News.

In addition to closed roads, debris from tornadoes littered streets and yards from as far away as Missouri.

More than 40,000 customers remained without power Tuesday, CNN reported. More than half of those customers were in the heavily damaged suburb of Moore.

The storm system behind Monday's twister and several on Sunday is threatening a large swath of the U.S. on Tuesday, putting 53 million people at risk of severe weather. In the bull's-eye Tuesday were parts of north-central Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, and northern Arkansas and Louisiana, according to the National Weather Service.