Your letters: Tornado hits ButterKrust Bakery, by Steve Lolley

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(SUBMITTED) -- It was a few months before I was to go into the Navy.

I had worked for the ButterKrust Bakery at 10th and Kansas Ave since graduating from Shawnee Heights in 1965. That day I was dumping ovens and had my radio sitting above the dump table.

We heard the sirens go off in town and warnings on the radio. We headed back to the loading dock (which faced south) and saw the Tornado coming.

It was spewing debris through the air and it was heading right at us! It was approximately four or five blocks away from our area. The lights started flickering and finally went out. We all started yelling get to the basement fast.

As I was heading for the basement you had to pass between the humidity box and the stairs to the mixing room and in front of me was the group of large windows. As I grabbed the door to go downstairs someone yelled are they still up in the mixing room! I said I would check.

I made it to the door which was only about ten steps up and yelled is there anyone up here. They yelled "yes, but we are okay. Go on down yourself."

As I went back down the stairs and was standing on the main floor it hit!

I looked to the south of the building where we cut and bagged the bread. There were several racks of bread in the area. As the tornado hit, the bread and other debris started flying all over. I headed north a couple of steps facing the front of the building or 10th street.

Through the large front windows I saw two cars being picked up and slammed together and dropped. I was scared to death.

The area was filling up with debris fast. Next to where I was standing was an old pull rope elevator, I raised the door part way to pull the rope forgetting the electricity was off. As I started pulling the rope the door was pulled out of my hand and up the elevator shaft. By then my heart was going a 100 miles an hour.

I turned to the north again to get downstairs, went a few steps and it was over as fast as it came. I was out of breath and sat down on the dumping table next to my radio which was still sitting there and later came back on (battery powered).

Those who made it to the basement started coming up yelling for me, those from the mixing room and those in the loading dock who we found out late had hid under the delivery trucks. Those in the mixing room started coming down, swearing and yelling that the roof of the building had been raised a few inches and dropped back down.

Luckily, I was just dirty and had a few minor cuts, others were all unhurt as well. I could not believe what just happened. I went to the loading dock as I had parked my old 56 Chevy in back.

It was a mess. Looked like someone came in and sand blasted the whole back end. My rear window was gone and the car filled with debris and covered in bricks.

It took us several days to get my car out and to clean up the mess as we had to take everything apart and cleaned before we were approved to start business again.

Needless to say, I will never forget the night when the world around me was swirling, air filled with dirt and bread, hard to breath and my heart pounding like crazy. It truly was a day turned night to remember!

Steve Lolley