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City of Tulsa leaving fate of businesses damaged in tornado up to owners

According to information released by the city of Tulsa, at least 150 businesses were damaged by the storm (KTUL).

Cleanup is now underway after tornadoes hit Tulsa early Sunday morning, and many business owners have some tough decisions to make in the process.

Business owners who were affected by the EF-2 tornado in midtown must decide what to do with the dozens of buildings damaged by the storm.

“It was literally raining inside on the ceiling from the top floor to the bottom,” said Tammy Stokes, who owns Oklahoma Disaster Restoration with her husband.

They both know all about fixing homes and businesses after a storm hits, but they never thought they’d be the ones needing help.

“Our employee calls and says, 'Hey boss, it’s raining in the shop,'” Stokes said.

The City of Tulsa says nearly 150 businesses were damaged by the storm. More than 60 buildings had major damage, and four buildings were classified as destroyed, meaning at least 50 percent of the building was ruined.

Brant Pitchford with the City of Tulsa said the city is putting orange dots on damaged buildings, but it doesn’t mean the whole building must come down. It gives business owners 90 days to figure out what they want to do.

“Condemnation means it’s unsafe for human occupancy, the normal person couldn’t go in,” said Pitchford. “Restoration crews, contractors -- we want them to have access.”

Stokes said her business is okay, but unfortunately, some businesses around her are in pretty bad shape.

“It’s our livelihood and our business, so we’ve got to rebuild,” Stokes said.

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