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May 22nd, 2013
07:01 PM ET

22 people survived tornado in bank vault

Jan Davis & Teresa Price of Tinker Federal Credit Union in Moore, Oklahoma describe how they hid in a vault along with 12 other workers and eight bank members as the building was destroyed.

"It was crowded" says Davis, "but if there were more people we would have crowded them right in." (Video)

The credit union posted the following photos to their Facebook page.

This is the vault where 14 TFCU employees and eight members rode out yesterday's tornado in Moore and emerged safely afterward. (From Tinker Federal Credit Union Facebook Page)

From Tinker Federal Credit Union Facebook page

Filed under: Interviews • Oklahoma • Situation Room • Tornado
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. lanes

    I think(with all due respects) that it is time to take this weather issue very high in the level of urgency... I do not know what can be done in terms of financial obligations, but, with a Masters in Public Budgeting and a whole lots of personal loan debt, I think that I would not mine volunteering my idea to help for free my fellow Americans. I think that we as Americans need to start a volunteer type system throughout the year in which all Americans can continuously add money safely that will be routed to assist in the rebuilding of the entire Midwest. I think that we should start floor plan per floor and rebuild as securely as possible to safe all Americans. This should not be happening in this country, and yes, I do blame Obama, for his poor leadership and understanding in construction manners, etc. I think that if the FEDS can not assist in the proper manner, then, all Americans need to start volunteering to rebuild sound infrastructure!!!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
  2. Bob

    A similar situation played out in Joplin when some Kroger employees decided it would be best to move employees and customers into their huge, heavy refrigerator. It saved all their lives as the rest of the store was destroyed.

    May 23, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
  3. ariel

    Happy their all ok

    May 23, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  4. JohnParryJones

    I am surprised the vault sustained as much damage as it did.

    May 23, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  5. nice to see

    nice to see a bit of good news. I feel for those who were lost, but thankful that it wasnt worse. All of the US stands with you Oklahoma.

    May 23, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  6. Adam

    Did you know a young couple came running up to this bank as a safe haven and the bank turned them away.

    due to a liability they did not let them in the vault, but they let the guests of the bank in?

    really why would they not let them in but they allowed the guests

    maybe because they were mixed race?

    I don't know but good news they made it out ok

    May 23, 2013 at 11:08 am |
  7. kingofthenet

    Vault Boy for Real

    May 23, 2013 at 10:54 am |
  8. Retired engineer

    Concrete works.

    May 23, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  9. Maska

    Wonder if this the same bank that turned a couple away and wouldn't let them into the vault, so they had to run for shelter under a bridge deck....

    May 23, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Tina Heck

      No, it was not. KOCO has an interview with that couple, and they said it was an IBC bank that turned them away.

      June 28, 2013 at 11:18 am |
  10. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Every home should be equipped with a tornado vault.

    May 23, 2013 at 9:51 am |
  11. rob0rah

    New definition of "safe"

    May 23, 2013 at 9:16 am |
  12. Jas Doberman

    I had mentioned this very thing on a post the other day. A vault makes a good shelter. Now I know where I would, go right to the bank a few blocks from me and put myself on deposit till the tornado passes.

    May 23, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • jwc

      they finally had enough time to read. but all of their eye glasses were broken in the tornado so, ironically, they weren't able to now.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  13. Darryl

    How many hours were they in that vault?

    May 23, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • splashmtn

      They were probably only in there for 20 minutes, that's usually how long it takes from the time the sirens go off until it's all over.

      May 23, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  14. AA

    Sad that we build structures strong enough to protect our money, but that most of those who perished had no similar protection.

    May 23, 2013 at 8:44 am |
    • rick from nh

      What a profound statement! Couldn't have said it better myself. When the rebuilding occurs there should be a mandate that every school have a sizable shelter, big enough to handle all the students and as many of the surrounding residents as well.

      This is where government is welcomed to intrude. Let our government fund these shelters 100%.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • the 1%

      Money is way more important DUH!

      May 23, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Dazzy

      It is sad, but everyone had the option when they had their house built. Most decided against it to save 15-20K.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • southboca

      What happened in Oklahoma is tragic. It seems that after tragedies there's often a knee-jerk reaction - "we have to do something." The reality is that living is not risk free. The other reality is that safe rooms (and bank vaults) come with a price tag. School safe rooms run $150 to $240 per square foot or $600,000 to $1 million per room. There are 1812 public schools in Oklahoma. About 100 of them have safe rooms. Retrofitting the remaining 1700 schools would cost $1 – $1.7 billion. A hefty price tag does not mean we should not consider a change. It does mean that we should take a long hard look at whether it's the most effective use of money. For example, changing Oklahoma law to require booster seats for children 8 years and under and providing free booster seats for all kids would cost less and potentially save more lives.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • MrsFizzy

      VERY good point.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • meg

      Well I think it's just the way they build homes in US... They are suppose to stay there for maybe 50 years and then they had to be easily to demolish to put a new one, that's why there is so much damage every time. I'm from Europe and our homes are build to stay there for ages, I saw house after tornado there- it only lost the roof and windows, other than that was just fine...

      May 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  15. RalphS

    Hats off to the quick thinking. Looks like a bank vault is the construction spec needed to survive an EF 5. Something to think about when considering safe rooms for public buildings in tornado prone areas. Someone should look up the cost of that vault at the time the bank was constructed and take it from there. I sincerely wish the good people of Oklahoma all the best in getting back on their feet. So awful to have such devastation.

    May 23, 2013 at 8:20 am |
  16. E

    So the town's money has more protection than the town's children.

    May 23, 2013 at 8:08 am |
    • meamur

      The bank was smarter than the parents. The bank spent the money needed to protect what was important to them. The parents did not.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Memphis Reins

      obviously its going to take money to rebuild the town and not the kids

      May 23, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Anonymous

      Yeah because a 50,000 dollar vault is going to stock 300 children.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:59 am |
  17. jhysterio

    That's a good vault.

    May 23, 2013 at 8:04 am |
  18. Liz

    The real valuables in that bank vault, were able to walk out.

    May 23, 2013 at 7:56 am |
  19. Justin

    Did they inventory the bank vault yet? :p

    May 23, 2013 at 7:51 am |
  20. SentTheWave

    Quick thinking!

    May 23, 2013 at 7:18 am |
  21. unowhoitsme

    Many quick thinking heroes in this tragedy! Thank you!

    May 23, 2013 at 7:14 am |
  22. Rick

    Great plug for how safe & secure your money is.

    May 23, 2013 at 5:47 am |
  23. Dianne

    WOW...Amazing is all I can say...So glad to read good stories with all of the heartbreaking stories in this terrible situation!

    May 23, 2013 at 4:56 am |
  24. Nicole

    All of the geniuses recommending we build homes out of cement and brick need to look at this picture.

    May 23, 2013 at 3:51 am |
    • Dazzy

      Yes, look at all the WOOD structure with a cement/brick facade. (That means a fake exterior about an inch thick usually preformed to fit).

      Most of the concrete and brick structures (fully built) are maybe missing roofs, or a few walls leaning, but nowhere near destroyed.

      Take it from someone who has been building all kinds of buildings in tornado alley for 25 years. They're better, I see it daily.

      May 23, 2013 at 10:31 am |
  25. Duane

    Darn good spot to ride things out. Those credit union members really got their money's worth on their membership.

    May 23, 2013 at 2:00 am |
  26. me


    May 23, 2013 at 1:57 am |
  27. Blicky Sam

    This is a nice story. Thank God the bank manage was quick on his feet.

    May 23, 2013 at 1:56 am |
  28. RobbD

    Glad you all made it out safely. My heart goes out to those who were not as fortunate.

    May 23, 2013 at 1:08 am |
  29. Logikflux

    See,... It pays to be a member of a credit union.

    May 23, 2013 at 12:31 am |
  30. JK

    I want one of those instead of a basement!

    May 23, 2013 at 12:23 am |
  31. Jessica

    Get them in the VAULT! /mal

    May 23, 2013 at 12:18 am |
  32. Lilly

    It's unbelievable!

    May 22, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
  33. James

    Now THATS a good place to keep your money! surviving an F5 Tornado?

    May 22, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
  34. A banker

    Don't mean to be nit picky but Credit Unions are not banks! (Although they like to act like they are without paying the same taxes as banks) Glad all the employees survived!

    May 22, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
  35. steven c

    It's called a "safe room" 😉

    May 22, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
  36. Mario

    I'm sure the first one to make a theft wise crack got popped a good one too. Glad they were able to use what they had.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
  37. RiJoWe

    Perhaps everyone needs a bank vault in their home!

    May 22, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  38. safe and sound

    but did they make any "withdrawals" 🙂

    they deserve at least the petty cash drawer.
    maybe the safe company could pitch in. good ad too. not even tornadoes can breach our safe.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
  39. reo mad

    so sad they can build shelters to protect ther mony but not the kids in school

    May 22, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
  40. hi

    is that legal?

    May 22, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
  41. allenwoll

    WoW ! ! !

    May 22, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
  42. USA

    Glad they All are ok 🙂

    May 22, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  43. Frank Lewkowitz


    May 22, 2013 at 8:16 pm |

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