Decades Later Firefighter Rowdy Baxter Recalls Oklahoma City Bombing

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The Oklahoma City bombing is one of those events where you remember exactly where you were when you heard the news. Events like these shake you to your very core.

In April of 1995, Terri Talley was sitting in her office chair on the third floor of her building. Shortly after settling into work, a bomb exploded. It was 9:02 a.m.

Talley went through the floor, falling all the way to the first floor only to be covered in concrete, granite, and dust. Timothy McVeigh’s truck bomb had gone off and wrecked the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

Trapped

Talley was disoriented when she woke up and could not see anything. She was trying to listen to all the sounds around her to determine what had happened.

She said. ” I though I had been in a really bad car accident.”

Crying for help was an impossible task due to the weight and pressure of the building pieces that were on top of her.

“I thought I’m just going to go to sleep and when I wake up everything will be OK, like a nightmare. When I woke, I could hear just one person screaming, ‘Help me’ I thought if they can hear her, maybe they will find me.”

Terri Talley

Rescue Efforts

Off-duty firefighter, Rowdy Baxter, heard the explosion from a few blocks over and went to help.

“I was walking in the rubble. People were running everywhere. I found a few people alive, and I found an arm. A little while later, I saw another arm, but I wasn’t going to mess with it. But then I saw it move, and I crawled down to it.”

Rowdy Baxter

She made him promise to rescue her. He used his hands to move pieces he could while waiting for the jaws-of-life tool. Many of the pieces were three to four feet long and stuck together by steel rebar.

Thirty minutes into his rescue efforts, all first responders were being ordered out of the area. There was a second bomb threat.

“I said, ‘We can’t leave her.’ The chief said, ‘I’ll give you two minutes.’ I just grabbed her and yanked and pulled and got her out, and others helped me carry her out.”

Rowdy Baxter

Her face was blue, all the oxygen was being pushed out of her, but 25 years later, she is alive and well, thanks to Baxter.

Source: Firehouse

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