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Boone County fire chief assisting in Moore tornado recovery

A Boone County firefighter remains in Moore, Okla. Wednesday, overseeing Federal Emergency Management Agency operations.

ABC 17’s Evan Millward caught up with Boone County Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Doug Westhoff, who is also the deputy commander for FEMA.

Now that everyone is accounted for, FEMA crews are in full cleanup mode in Moore, after Monday’s EF-5 tornado destroyed entire neighborhoods.

Westhoff says all of the destruction in Moore is far too familiar, especially for the second anniversary of Joplin’s tornado.

Wednesday’s significance is not lost on Westhoff. Just two years ago, he was examining damage from a similar tornado, just closer to home.

“It really is just as far as the eye can see,” said Westhoff. “And to imagine what it must have been like when that storm came through and not being able to identify stuff, rain-wrapped and debris flying everywhere, it’s just an unbelievable experience for these folks I’m sure.”

The tornado in Moore is similar to Joplin’s. It was a powerful EF-5 twister with winds like Joplin, destruction like Joplin, and an outpouring of response like Joplin.

“They have it in their heart to do good for their neighbors and their friends,” said Westhoff.

And for Westhoff, it’s part of a larger effort. He is currently overseeing the FEMA operations in Moore.

“These guys are doing a great job,” said Westhoff. “Just look across here where they’re already into cleanup mode, already made the transition to recovery.”

While Evan was with Westhoff, he traveled behind the National Guard’s barricade and met with crews helping to clean up, including a volunteer who is about to become a B-2 pilot at Whiteman Air Force Base.

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