The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 22, 2013

N&E carrier’s parents’ home hit by tornado

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

MOORE, Okla. — Enid News & Eagle carrier Jeff Brown had some scary moments Monday night when a tornado struck his parents’ home in Newcastle.

Brown, 28, of Hennessey, delivers two Enid routes and works in Enid during the day. He said the tornado that eventually devastated Moore first touched down in Newcastle, where his parents live. The storm took half the roof and essentially destroyed the north side of the home.

“They had four vehicles in the garage and two of them were damaged,” he said.

It is a two-story house, but the second story still is under construction and is unfinished, he said.

His mother, Judy Ensz, was downstairs when the storm started. She normally goes to a shelter at a neighbor’s house, but waited too long and rode out the storm in a closet, Brown said. He believes it is a miracle she and his step-father were not injured. He and his mother had attended a funeral together Monday, and when he left, she told him she was going to the store to “get some things,” in case there was a tornado.

“She waited too long to go to the neighborhood shelter, and got some pillows and blankets and went to a closet. I told her to grab a helmet,” he said.

His stepfather, Jeff Ensz, came home from work to be with his wife and stayed in the closet with her throughout the storm. When Brown talked to his mother later, she said she just had time to get a helmet when the tornado struck. A 2-by-4 was driven through the wall of the home, next to the closet they were in, he said.

“They made it out without a scratch. It was a miracle as far as I’m concerned,” Brown said.

They filed a claim with their insurance company, but with all the damage to the area they don’t know when an adjuster will come. They have been staying with friends and in a motel. Brown said the house appears to be unstable and he believes it will be a total loss. The 2,800-square-foot home was built new by his parents 14 years ago.

The May 3, 1999, tornado missed them by about a mile, he said. The majority of their neighborhood, consisting of 30-40 houses, all in the $200,000 range and higher, was destroyed.

“I talked to my mother Monday night. My wife went down there yesterday to help with cleanup, and my sisters and other family members are trying to piece things together,” Brown said Wednesday.

He has not been able to talk to his mother often since the tornado. Brown said he was terrified when he thought he may have sent his mother out to get a helmet and was not sure if she returned in time.

“I was a nervous wreck until I found out she was fine,” he said.