ENID, Okla. — David Christy
David Christy served as emergency management director of Waukomis for 32 years and served 27 years as firefighter, officer and EMT on Waukomis Fire and Rescue. He retired in 2007.
Christy shared many storm-related experiences with Maly, but each of them remembers different key parts of the same experiences.
“The most harrowing severe weather-spotting incident I remember was when the towns of Lahoma and Drummond were hit by a severe thunderstorm that had extremely high winds and an unbelievable amount of hail,” said Christy.
Christy and another Waukomis firefighter, Dale Hornberger, were storm spotting west of Waukomis near Turkey Creek when they spotted the large storm.
“We watched as this massive, greenish-black cloud just seemed to sit down on the town of Drummond and stay there,” said Christy. “As the storm moved east toward Waukomis, we saw rain coming almost horizontal to the ground and then kind of going back up in the air before it hit the ground. We decided right then and there to get the heck out of there and headed back to the fire station.”
Christy said it wasn’t long until they got a call for assistance from Drummond.
“We had a heck of a time getting to Drummond since lines and power poles were down on the Drummond road,” said Christy. The team had to navigate their way over county roads to get to Drummond.
“When we finally (got there) we found a lot of hail and wind damage, with hail piled two and three feet deep hours after the storm had passed,” said Christy. “I’ll never forget looking into the blown-out windows of a trailer on the north end of town and seeing all the hail damage on the inside walls.”
Of all Christy’s storm memories, he said the most unforgettable was the infamous May 3, 1999, tornado outbreak.
“After we got word that Dover had been hit by a large tornado, Chief Clarence Maly began getting some strike teams together to send firefighters to Dover and possibly to Mulhall after it was hit,” said Christy, who was on the Waukomis heavy-rescue truck that went to Dover, along with a truck from the Enid Fire Department, for search and rescue.
“My most vivid memory of that night was the darkness because all the electricity was out in the town and, even though we had powerful flashlights and spotlights on our rescue truck, the light just seemed to be swallowed up by the darkness and debris,” said Christy.
There was one fatality discovered in Dover that night.
“That was a very long night for a lot of firefighters,” said Christy.
Maly also said he has many memories from that night. One of those memories was finding a tractor-trailer on top of a minivan.
When they approached, Maly said they saw baby tennis shoes sticking out of the wreckage.
“Come to find out it was a doll,” said Maly. “But it gets your blood pressure up.”