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'I had to dig my way out'

By Griff Palmer

April 20, 1995

In the minutes immediately following the explosion, an eerie quiet prevailed at NW 6 and Robinson as downtown workers tried to grasp the enormity of the destruction.

Sharon Paulsen, a claims representative for the Social Security Administration, sat dazed on the curb of NW 5. She said she had been on the first floor of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building when the bomb exploded.

"It blew us out of our chairs," she said. "It felt like the world just fell in on us. One of the fellows dug me out. Another fellow got the door open. Sprinklers were going.

"There was no warning. It was totally, totally out of the blue. " Linda Logan, a secretary in the Social Security office, said water was rising on the floor.

"I had to dig my way out," she said. "It was horrible. I feel very fortunate that we got out of the building. " Paulsen and Logan's co-workers, Dennis Purifoy 1 and Laquitqa Cowan, scrambled to account for other workers and to compile a list of the missing.

Dr. Paul Heath, a psychologist with the Department of Veterans Affairs, was on the fifth floor.

"We were on the west end of the building. It didn't collapse," he said. "The stairwell on the southwest side of the building was open. That was how we got our injured out.

"We had two critically injured people. One guy lost his eye," Heath said. "I saw children being carried out. "


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