MOORE, Okla. (KXAN) - While most of the sights of devastation and destruction have centered around the leveled schools and a hospital, the tornado's path trucked east of Interstate 35, leveling even more homes along a 17 mile path.
One of the hardest hit neighborhoods was a place not even the people who lived there had seen, until Thursday.
Heather Kirchen was in her home just before it hit. Her husband and son were out.
"I threw the dog in the car, and we took off, Kirchen said. "I knew it was heading right for where we live."
It was dangerous decision, but she's not sure she would have survived otherwise. Nearly everything in her neighborhood is gone. Even after returning, Heather has avoided looking at the carnage.
"I purposefully have not looked really closely just because it hits you," she said tearfully. "I'm sorry, I'm thinking about the people who probably were lost.
Her house is one of the few still standing in this neighborhood.
"The fact that there's any walls standing anywhere through there just blows me away," she said about her home. "We have two close friends that were on 8th Street and literally watched it rip the roof off. They were holding a cat that was clawing and biting. They let go and watched their cat be sucked up into the vortex."
Even with no electricity, no water, and no neighbors, the Kirchen's still plan to stay the night in the place they almost lost.
"We've been here so long," Heather's husband John said. "We've raised half the kids in our neighborhood. It's only ten blocks long and one block wide, so absolutely we want to stay."
Thursday's cleanup and recovery efforts were slowed by thunderstorms throughout the morning. Crews and residents finally started moving back in later in the day, trying to pickup and rebuild all that was lost.
"You know, you pray, and you thank God your family is still here," Heather said. "You put your head down and you do what needs to be done."
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