An Oklahoma judge says Farmers Insurance and a subsidiary must pay a total of $15 million to three plaintiffs whose homes were damaged in the 2012 Woodward tornado.
District Judge Ray Dean Linder ruled in favor of three plaintiffs who filed breach of contract lawsuits against Farmers Insurance and Foremost Insurance Group. The lawsuit alleged that the insurance companies underpaid claims and used adjusters that they knew would offer low estimates.
Listen to M. Scott Carter talk about how he first became interested in construction standards at two Oklahoma elementary schools destroyed by the May 20, 2013 Moore, Okla. tornado.
Friday’s edition of The Journal Record reveals improper construction and violation of building codes led to the destruction of two Moore, Okla. elementary schools when a tornado hit May 20, 2013.
KGOU’s Kurt Gwartney talked with the reporter, M. Scott Carter, who obtained a soon-to-be released report showing a shocking lack of standard building practices in both Briarwood and Plaza Towers elementary schools.
Detailed in a soon-to-be-released report for the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Structural Engineering Institute, an analysis of the debris of the Briarwood Elementary School showed that several of the building’s steel roof beams were not attached to the walls, many of Briarwood’s cinder-block walls were not properly reinforced with steel rebar and large portions of the walls were not backfilled with concrete.
When the storm came, seven students in the Plaza Towers third-grade center sheltered in the hall. At Briarwood, the students and teachers thought the school building would protect them. Then the tornado hit, and the schools fell. Instead of offering protection on May 20, 2013, Plaza Towers became a deathtrap, Briarwood a pile of rubble.
The National Weather Service unveiled a new training video Wednesday for storm spotters and chasers with the hopes of avoiding a repeat of the tragedy that followed the May 31, 2013 tornado near El Reno.
Texas and Oklahoma led the nation in the number of tornadoes last year. Oklahoma's 79 was well above the state's average of 57.
Greg Carbin, the warning coordination meteorologist with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, told the Tulsa World newspaper the national total of 898 tornadoes was well below normal, which is about 1,000.
Florida, Kansas and Texas typically each have more tornadoes per year than Oklahoma. Texas had 81 last year.
For over a decade, Lieutenant Brian Orr of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol has responded to disasters throughout the state, including both the 1999 and 2013 Moore tornadoes. He remembers each of them clearly.
“It was very difficult to see things, and of course first arriving, hearing screams from people and just the total devastation,” Orr said.