Nightly News   |  May 20, 2013

Moore Mayor: ‘There is devastation all around us’

Glenn Lewis, the Mayor of Moore, Okla., speaks to NBC’s Brian Williams about the catastrophic damage to his town. The city of Moore has lost a lot of buildings and homes and the mayor is working out of the emergency management office at the city.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we have the mayor of moore , oklahoma , on the phone with us right now. glen lewis . mr. mayor, i know it is early on. i'm sorry for the loss your community has suffered. this is going to redraw the map of moore , oklahoma , once more. what do you know being that it is so early yet?

>> well, first of all, appreciate the call. we just got through taking a small tour best we could. there are a lot of power lines down. we couldn't see it all. the city has lost a lot of buildings, a lot of houses. a lot of people are displaced. we are working here out of the emergency management office at the city. there's devastation all around us. the whole city looks like a debris field. but fortunately most people are in good spirits. you know, we are first and foremost concerned with the loss of life and all those that are injured. one of the problems is it looks like we have lost our hospital. i drove by there and it's pretty much destroyed. we are sending them about four miles south of us. like i said, the ambulance service has done a good job here. the emergency management service has done an excellent job. it's just -- this is something we have been through before. we'll get through this again. we have one of the -- probably post experienced, best teams in the country for tornadoes. so we're okay.

>> yes, sir. i have spent a good amount of time in oklahoma over the years. as i watch the pictures from home we all have the same question. with no power and gas leaks and the interstate, i-35 now shut down, where do you start?

>> well, right now we start with picking up the people that are injured and taking care of them. then we go from there. we basically have partnered -- we already have crewed out now removing some of the poles down on the street. we'll get those cleared off first. the next thing we are going to do is check our school system . make sure the schools are up and available and we have places for people to go. if they are -- yes, silver star construction company is already out clearing those fields. i'm sorry. they keep giving me reports as we are talking. but we don't have numbers as far as fatalities go. i can't confirm those. like i said, we're taking care of it as best we can. right now we are putting together a plan to start on it. we'll start on it now.

>> mr. mayor, i have to say, this elementary school where lance west has been reporting from just sounds positively grim. imagine that scene of wreckage surrounded by parents and rescue workers asking them to stay quiet so they can hear voices. do you have information from there?

>> i do. but nothing i can release yet. nothing has been confirmed. we had another school, briarwood. all of those students have been accounted for. and all the teachers. so we are very fortunate. that school looks about the same.

>> mr. mayor, again, we are all with you on this. we are all watching. it's going to be an anxious night. sadly, moore , oklahoma , has been through this before. a lot of resilient people there. you have a lot of rebuilding and probably some dark hours to go.

>> we have the record, 317-miles an hour wind speeds at the last one in 1999 . i know this is bad. but we'll manage to get through it.

>> mr. mayor, thank you very much for being with us.

>> thank you, sir.

>> mayor glenn lewis of moore ,