Oklahoma deputies stepped in to help paramedics rescue two people who were trapped in rubble during a category EF2 tornado that swept through the city of Norman on February 26.
According to authorities, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office deputies and paramedics from the Norman Regional Health System coordinated their efforts to save a man and woman trapped in the United States Postal Service National Center for Employee Development building following the storm.
Paramedic Riley Furman said EMS was having trouble responding to a call at the building due to damaged power lines blocking access to the building.
“They were kinda stretched across Highway 9,” Furman told News 9.
As their ambulances were too big to maneuver past the power lines, the paramedics called on deputies to use their patrol vehicles to reach the injured individuals instead.
“We didn’t have the time to really wait and see if we could get the wires to [move] or anything like that… we needed to get in there and really assess what was going on,” Furman said to KOKH news.
Luckily, Deputy Jacob Overling was able to assist. “My car fit underneath the power lines,” he explained. “We were going to accomplish that goal by however means necessary.”
Overling added that he was familiar with such storms and how to navigate recovery operations. “I’ve grown up in Oklahoma my whole life, so I know that when these situations happen, we got to get, get people to where they need to be. So you kind of do whatever, whatever you can at all means possible,” he said.
Deputies were able to extract the trapped individuals, who were then transported by EMS to Norman Regional Hospital.
“We make decisions you know in split seconds all the time. We just got the plan… You go here, we go there, we’’e going to try to get down there as safely as possible,” Captain Saysha Cornish added
The victims were treated and released from the hospital. They were among the first injuries reported due to the tornado, according to the hospital.
“Just glad that the individuals were safe,” Overling said. “That was for me, probably the best feeling.”
According to officials across the state, at least 15 people were injured and hospitalized as a result of the storm, with one death in recorded in Roger Mills County.