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Metal firms ready to help tornado victims

Keywords: Tags  tornado, Moore, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Gerdau Long Steel, Marmon/Keystone, Ryerson, steel pipe

CHICAGO — Oklahoma-based metal distributors, fabricators, processors and downstream users reached by AMM largely said their facilities escaped damage and employees were safe and accounted for following a devastating tornado that killed at least two dozen people May 20.

Several facilities said they were prepared to assist in supplying materials for emergency recovery operations and rebuilding efforts.

A metal buildings company owner in Moore said he is a volunteer firefighter who is working in areas destroyed by the massive tornado, which cut a nearly 20-mile path through the Oklahoma City area but did the most damage in Moore. "We have fatalities here, so I am assisting," said the firefighter, who declined to provide his name.

There was no answer at Hit Steel LLC or Specialty Metals Inc., which both have facilities in Moore. Other companies that could not be reached included Ryerson Inc. and Chromalloy, which both have facilities nearby.

A recycler north of Oklahoma City said the destruction at Plaza Towers Elementary School, where at least seven children were killed, came as a surprise because it was built to also serve as a storm shelter and had reinforced walls. "Nothing could stop a storm like this," he said.

Businesses in Oklahoma City contacted by AMM reported no damage or injuries. Tampa, Fla.-based Gerdau Long Steel North America has a reinforcing fabrication plant in the city, Oklahoma City Reinforcing Steel, according to a spokeswoman. "They let us know they are all accounted for and safe," she told AMM.

Metal Check Inc. also reported no damage.

"It was about 10 miles south of us. Everybody who works here lives further north," said a spokesman at Metal Supermarkets IP Inc.’s location in Oklahoma City. "We are ready in case someone calls for assistance."

"We’re all good," a receptionist at Barker Steel Inc. told AMM.

"All of our employees are safe and suffered no damage to their homes. We do anticipate calls for products," said Robert Cadenhead at QuikService Steel Co., a service center specializing in structural steel and pipe.

Steel pipe distributor Marmon/Keystone LLC’s facility in Tulsa was not affected by the tornado, a spokeswoman told AMM in an e-mail. An employee at Duenner Supply Co. Inc., which processes and distributes specialty and red metals, also said there was no impact.

Facilities in surrounding communities also were spared the tornado’s wrath. "We are safe. No employees lost homes or property," said a spokesman for Callahan Steel Buildings in Mustang, northwest of Moore.

"We are about five miles south of where all the bad stuff hit," the owner of JDS Welding in Noble told AMM. "We’re in pretty good condition."

Lisa Gordon, Pittsburgh, Michael Cowden, Chicago, and Thorsten Schier, Daniel Fitzgerald and Nathan Laliberte, New York, contributed to this story.

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