Many neighborhoods in Moore, Okla., remain closed as crews check utilities

Tornado-ravaged families typically would be seen digging out two days after a storm, but many of the damaged neighborhoods of Moore sat still and eerily quiet Wednesday morning.

Authorities have cordoned off the entrances to many residential neighborhoods while utility crews make sure that natural gas and electrical lines are secure.

In those areas, people who show up with identification showing proof of residency were being permitted to grab a few items and check on their homes, but most were not being allowed to stay.

In some areas, volunteers and friends showing up with gloves, rakes, trash bags and good intentions were being turned away by police and military personnel who guard the entrances to neighborhoods.

Not all neighborhoods remain closed to residents, although they were to the media. People were being told that neighborhoods should be opened about 3 p.m.

Gloria Teague showed up Wednesday morning to help her daughter, Genny Satterlee, 33, clean out her house. Heavily damaged, it sits on Kings Manor Drive across from Moore Medical Center, which also was gutted by the twister.

Teague said she began cleaning Tuesday. “We came and stayed until dark,” she said.

Cars weren’t allowed into the neighborhood, so they were forced to carry their belongings down the block. She said they left briefly at 5 p.m.

When they returned later, looters were rummaging through their belongings. “My son chased them out of there and police caught and arrested them,” Teague said.

Looters, she said, were following the creek that runs behind homes and coming in away from the police. One neighbor had set up a tent in his front yard where he was staying to watch his home.

“They need to guard along that creek,” Teague said. “One of them had his hands full of stuff.”

Eric Adler, eadler@kcstar.com