Lone Grove tornado victim remembers devastation, loss of friend 11 years later

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LONE GROVE, Okla. (KXII) – Monday marked the 11 year anniversary of the tornado that hit Lone Grove, OK, killing eight and causing millions in damages.

PJ Scifres lives in North Carolina now but says Feb. 10 will always be a sad day for her.

“It was hard,” Scifres said. “It still is hard. It doesn’t seem like it’s been 11 years, but it has been.”

On Feb. 10, 2009, Scifres was living in a mobile home on Brock Road, near the Lone Grove Mobile Home Community.

She said she and her roommates had just turned off the TV and were getting ready for bed.

“Last thing I remember was sirens and then I heard something really loud, like a train coming through,” she said. “Then the trailer kind of tipped and that’s the last thing I remember.”

Scifres was thrown about 30 yards from where they took shelter in the trailer.

Her roommate, Donna Lee McGarvey, laid dead just about 10 feet from her.

“She wasn’t moving at all,” Scifres said. “I could tell that she wasn’t moving or she didn’t respond to me either. I knew.”

McGarvey one of eight who died in the storm.

“She was like a second mom to me,” Scifres said. “Really caring, really friendly, she loved everybody.”

Scifres was eventually taken to the hospital with head trauma and a broken arm.

She had also been impaled by an unknown object about an inch from her spine.

She spent a week in the hospital and said she missed McGarvey’s funeral.

“If it’s storming, I’m not too happy about it, but today is just a really sad day for me,” she said.

Scifres said she still battles with complications from the injuries and wants to warn others to take weather alerts seriously and take proper precautions.

“Don’t outrun it,” Scifres said. “Don’t try to stand in the yard. I know how Okie’s are though, because you’re going to stand in the yard watching storms, but don’t. It’s not safe.”

by Shelby Dowler (2020, Feb 10) KXII

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Kyrie Wagner