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Survivor: ‘I Just Looked Up And Everything Came Down’

April 19, 1995

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Bloodied and crying, one person after another walked among shards of shattered glass downtown, wondering what had happened after a massive explosion at the federal office building this morning.

``I was just sitting at my desk and all of a sudden I just looked up and everything came down,″ Delynda Casteel sobbed. ``I screamed and ran.″

Ms. Casteel worked at a building two blocks from the nine-story Albert Murrah building, which was torn apart by the 9 a.m. explosion. She was among scores injured by flying glass.

``People were out there in their underwear with glass and plaster over their heads, faces and bodies,″ said state Rep. Kevin Cox, who was a half block away when the blast occurred.

More than 200 people were taken to St. Anthony Hospital for treatment. Some of the injuries occurred in day-care centers in the federal building and at a nearby YMCA.

``It was really terrible with the (YMCA) day-care center,″ Cox said. ``Babies were crying and screaming, with blood and plaster and insulation on their bodies.″

George Young, chaplain at the hospital, sat on a bench holding a small blond girl with bandages on her face.

``I’ve seen five or six children seriously injured,″ Young said. ``The children were 18 months to 4 or 5 years of age. A lot of them had been hurt by flying glass. One little boy was in shock.″

The devastation was everywhere. Black smoke billowed from the federal building after the explosion. Cars parked nearby sat burning, some overturned. Buildings within four blocks had windows blasted out. Some older buildings were sagging, damaged by the blast.

Brian Espe, a veterinarian with the state Department of Agriculture, was working on the fifth floor of the Murrah building when the explosion occurred.

``I dove under that table,″ said Espe, who was working on a slide show presentation at the time. ``When I came out, I could see daylight if I looked north and daylight if I looked west.″

Jennifer Delashaw, 18, was in her bed at the Regency Tower Apartments, two blocks away. Her friend, Jesse Churchill, went to the window after hearing the boom and was blown across the room.

``I thought he got shot,″ said Ms. Delashaw, who suffered cuts on her legs and head. Churchill wasn’t seriously injured.

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