Claremore Daily Progress

Oklahoma State House

October 9, 2013

Flood of '73: 40 years later, memories linger


ENID, Okla. —

At nature's mercy

Bob Berry was a young man working for his family’s real estate company in 1973, and lived away from the worst of the flooding. He was surprised when a friend came by, urgently asking to help move his parents to higher ground.

As they reached the neighborhood, Berry remembers going across a bridge that had been overtaken by the creek. He hugged the upstream side of the bridge as best he could.

“We were barely on the road, we’d bounced so far over,” he said.

When they reached his friend’s parent’s house, they began working on raising what wasn’t bolted down.

“Somewhere in that there was this, ‘Bam!’” he said. “It was the back door that blew open; the water pressure just shattered it.”

They all got out, though, and Berry spent the next few days pumping water out of basements. Because many of them were just dirt cellars, he was only allowed to remove a foot of water each day.

“If you pump the whole basement out, the weight of the house will implode the whole house into the basement,” he said.

Cherul Rork and her husband ventured from relative safety across town to help rescue his parents. Their car became flooded and they both sought refuge in a nearby home.

“There were four or five of us on her bed, because we couldn’t go anywhere else in the house. We all just sat on the bed,” she said.

Rork was most worried for her unborn first child.

“I feared for all that, and I don’t swim very good at all,” she said.

Luckily, the water didn’t force them to climb up to the roof.

(Editor's note: Could it happen again? Look for a follow-up on this story next week. We will present an investigation into the precautions the city of Enid has taken in the past 40 years to prevent a repeat.)

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