Straight line winds wreak havoc on trees and power lines in Muskogee

MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Muskogee residents had to contend with straight line winds Thursday night, which left downed trees and power lines across the city.

FOX23 spent the day in Muskogee talking with neighbors and surveying the damage.

Thankfully there was no major structural damage and no injuries; there was minor structural damage to three buildings in Muskogee, one of them a duplex.

The winds damaged one tree and brought down another which landed on the roof of the duplex located in the 1600 block of S Fourth Street in Muskogee.

While no one in the home was hurt, an EMT in training who lives right next door jumped into action to assist the family who could not remain inside their damaged home after a portion of the ceiling collapsed.

Jamie Myrick described what happened when she stepped outside to check on her neighbors after the storm moved through:

“I knocked on the door to ask you know, are you guys ok,” she explained, “and they said no, we need help, we need to get out of here.”

Myrick got a glimpse of the damage to the home while talking with her neighbors:

“My neighbors they were kind of trapped inside the house, the whole ceiling had fall through, could see up into the rafters, all the dust going down.”

Myrick said the neighbors she assisted included a mom and her two teenagers, along with the woman’s adult daughter and one-year old grandchild.

She said in order to leave the home, the family had to climb over knee high debris to get out the door.

Myrick said she offered to take them wherever they needed to go in her car:

“I helped five people out of there and into my little Mazda over there, and we crawled, stuffed whatever they could take and drove out to Redbird, that’s the best I could offer them.”

As an EMT student, she said she actually had her bag ready but no one was injured.

The winds also tore off metal sheeting that covered an aging roof of a vacant home on S B Street in Muskogee.

Wind also pushed over a power pole by the OG&E plant that’s now on it’s side; it’s being held in place by a chain attached to heavy machinery.

With downed limbs and downed wires, Tyler Evans, the Director of Emergency Management for the City of Muskogee issued this word of caution:

“Treat every single line power line that you see as if was energized, if it’s a live line, don’t approach it, don’t try to get close to it,” he said. “Please just call 911 and it lets first responders come out.”

In the West Coburn Circle neighborhood, meanwhile, we found downed tree limbs strewn across lawns. We spoke with the Gibson family who have lived there for years and while they’ve lost trees in the past, this time the wind took out their fence.

“We came out this morning and I guess it happened during the night, during the windstorm, you know we’re thankful for the rain, but it looks like we’re going to be replacing that a little earlier than we thought,” Derek Gibson remarked.

An official with OG&E said at the height of the storm, they had about 3,800 customers without power in the Muskogee area. The outages were the result of the combination of strong winds and damaged tree limbs.

Tree crews worked with OG&E throughout the day on Friday to restore power to the area.