911 Calls Released From Washington Tornadoes

Tuesday, Dec 3, 2013  |  Updated 8:42 PM CDT
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Callers describe the funnel clouds and widespread damage following the Nov. 18 tornadoes.

Callers describe the funnel clouds and widespread damage following the Nov. 18 tornadoes.

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Newly-released 911 calls provide new insight into the fear and panic felt by Washington residents during last month's tornadoes.

Washington's 911 center only received three calls before the power went out at 11:03 a.m., but as soon as the funnel clouds were in sight, callers flooded other 911 dispatch centers in Tazewell County.

At first, callers were begging for help, but moments later, callers began describing the widespread damage.

We've got people trapped in houses, flooded houses with people trapped. We've got the whole north side of town destroyed so we're just calling everybody in. -- Dispatcher

Two people were killed when the EF-4 tornado with winds topping 200 mph ripped apart the community. Close to 1,000 homes were destroyed in seconds.

There's a gas leak next door. We got hit hard ... yeah, that's right by my house. It's devastating over here but we gotta get somebody over here to turn it off. -- Caller

Some of the victims reached out for help from amid the rubble.

Caller: 911 please help. The tornado knocked our whole house down. My mom's shoulder is hurt. Please help.
Dispatcher: Do you need an ambulance there? Caller: Yes we need an ambulance, the whole house is freaking knocked down. Do you understand that our whole block of houses is knocked down? Do you understand this?

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