Frantic 911 calls reveal chaos in Okla., following tornado

Several 911 calls made in the wake of Monday's massive tornado in Moore, Oklahoma are now being publicly heard, revealing the chaos that the city's residents had experienced from the devastation.

On Friday, recordings of some of the emergency calls were made available by Moore police (click on the video above to hear). One of the frightening calls came from a man describing that a daycare center had been hit -- what sounds like children crying or people in distress could be heard in the background during the call:

Dispatcher: Moore 911?

Man: We got a daycare full of babies. We need help bad. We need help bad. We got a daycare that just got cremated...we got tons of babies in here.

One of the other calls to 911 came from a woman who said she and others were stuck under rubble, while another person said a man's house in Moore collapsed on his kids.

A caller, who had to ask the people around her if they were trapped, told a dispatcher in another recording: "They could possibly get out...but everything in front of us from what we could see is wiped out."

In another recording, a woman called and said that she and others were trapped in a closet. She added that they weren't injured but couldn't breathe.

Monday's tornado claimed 24 lives.

Meanwhile, a principal at Plaza Towers Elementary School, which was destroyed by the tornado, recounted how she walked the halls until the twister was on the doorstep, then announced on the intercom, "It's here."

In a pause-filled recollection that left many weeping, Amy Simpson said at a news conference that her teachers emerged battered after doing what they could to save every child in the Oklahoma school. Still, seven second- and third-graders were among the 24 killed.

"The teachers covered themselves in debris while they were covering their babies. And I believe that is why so many of us survived that day, because the teachers were able to act quickly, stay calm and take literally the weight of a wall onto their bodies to save those that were under them," said Simpson, a native of the city of about 56,000.

The tornado was on the ground for 40 minutes and left a 17-mile path of destruction.

Its victims at the school were ages 8 and 9.

When the sirens blared, the principal walked the school to make sure everyone was prepared.

"Teachers were rubbing kids on the back, singing songs," while the students were crouched with their hands behind their necks, Simpson said.

When Simpson got to her office, a fifth-grade teacher told her the storm was just southwest of the school. "I got on the intercom and said, `It's here,"' Simpson said.

She rode out the storm in a bathroom.

"You feel things trickling down on you from the ceiling, then those things become chunks of things," Simpson said. "I yelled and said, `In God's name, go away!' I yelled it about four times. And then it was gone."

While debris was still flying, Simpson said, she told others, "I've got to get to the kids. I got out of the bathroom and the whole neighborhood was gone."

In other news related to the Oklahoma tornado, CBS News correspondent Mark Strassman spoke to the man who issued an emergency tornado warning on Monday. Forecaster David Andra of the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma, was monitoring the storm and called it 16 minutes before it hit Moore. "We knew the potential existed for particularly strong tornadoes that afternoon," he said.

He was also keeping track on his stepdaughter, Elizabeth Farrar, whose family was living in Moore. They talked Monday morning about whether she should leave with her husband Abe and their 13-month old son Keegan. "I know his tones, I know how he says things," she recalled, "and I could tell that he was concerned about Monday."

Out of the tragedy and destruction came some happier news for one Oklahoma family. CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman profiled the Brown children -- Caleb, Colby and Courtney -- whose home was destroyed by the tornado. Before the storm, the Brown kids were your usual fighting siblings, but the incident brought them closer together.

"They're my only brothers, and if they died, I don't know what I'd do," said Courtney, who hurt her head during the storm and was being taken cared of in a hospital.

"As a mom," said Rachquel Brown, the children's mother, "that's what you want, 'cause you try to teach them the family is the most important thing. And it took this experience for them to realize how much their sister and brother mean to them."

And bringing a bit of good news: the kids' dog Charlie emerged from the rubble safe and sound.

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