Nightly News   |  May 21, 2013

Moore starts to rebuild after devastating tornado

NBC’s Brian Williams interviews the Mayor of Moore, Okla., Glenn Lewis, who says the town has already begun putting up street signs and has also started the long, slow process of rebuilding after the city was flattened by a large tornado. Lewis also explains why the Plaza Towers Elementary School did not have a safe room.

Share This:

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

>>> again, if you were with us when this news first broke yesterday right on through "nbc nightly news" last night, you heard our early tentative interview by phone with the mayor of moore , oklahoma . we asked him at the time a question so many people have, where do you begin? well, we're happy to welcome mayor glenn lewis here with us tonight. mr. mayor, thank you for making time . let's use this house as an example. i found a photograph of two young women on the front yard, but i also know -- i've covered a lot of these. this could be from 12 miles away . this woman is said to have several young children at home. they think she got out. they're not sure. this is one house in your town. where do you begin?

>> probably at the very beginning where it started right back over here at plaza towers. that's kind of ground zero . it actually started across the street in oklahoma city . briarwood elementary is in oklahoma city . and it's just as devastated as plaza towers. they actually had more of a safe room. plaza towers is one of the older schools. the older schools don't have them. all the new schools that are built have safe rooms. unfortunately, that one didn't.

>> probably for people who don't know moore , oklahoma , we should probably emphasize in plain english , not a whole lot of people getting rich here. this is a working class town.

>> most of the people here are school teachers or state employees or federal employees. they work at the federal government usually at tinkerfield or faa.

>> there's almost a faith-based fema here in oklahoma . there's actual fema here in oklahoma . there's private donors. i've been assured all day that so many people will be lining up to take care of the good people who have been hit. you're going to count on that to rebuild this city yet again after '99.

>> yes, sir. we will rebuild it. we've already started the plans. we actually started the process. if you look over across the street at the hospital, they've started to clean up already. the theater has already cleaned up their parking lot . they're working on it. so many trucks they can't get to it. we've started the process already. we started putting up street signs . that's the first thing you have to do. people say why do you do street signs first. take care of the people that are injured, then you start putting up the street signs . well, you can't find where you're at. if you lived here for 30 years, you don't know what street is. the house doesn't look the same either.

>> i just wanted to join everybody watching, wish you good luck. thank you for spending time with us tonight. mayor glenn lewis here in moore , oklahoma .