OKLAHOMA CITY – Anetta Bullock’s memory is a bit hazy, but when she starts talking about it, the memories come flooding back to April 19, 1995.
Bullock was working for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections on the third floor of the then-Journal Record building, 621 N. Robinson Ave., that morning. An administrative professional in the office, she was typing away at a document on her computer when she noticed something odd.
“All of a sudden there was weird feeling, and it felt like the air just pressed down on me real tight – and then suddenly let off,” Bullock said.
Ceiling tiles and ductwork fell on her. Glass showered her from the huge windows that overlooked the Murrah Building.
“I just remember thinking, ‘What the Hell?’” Bullock said. She then heard a series of loud thuds in rapid succession.
What hit her was the shockwave of the blast from a 2 ½-ton diesel and fertilizer bomb left in a Ryder truck parked by a man, Timothy McVeigh, hell-bent on murdering government employees.
She looked out of the Journal Record building and realized the thuds she heard were the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building floors pancaking – one on top of the other. The roof of her building had been blown off, and several walls had collapsed.
Bullock, now an administrative manager with ODOC’s training unit, was part of a number of agency employees, and other state workers, who survived the blast and witnessed what transpired afterward.
Emergency crews arrived quickly on the scene, Bullock said. She and other staff helped get people and their personal effects out of the Journal Record building.
Video emerged in the news media after the attack, showing coworkers carrying a severely injured woman - ODOC employee Fran Ferrari - in a chair out of the Journal Record building. Bullock helped move debris out of the way as Ferrari was carried from her office out to the street.
Outside, triages were quickly set up for the injured. 168 would die in the attack.
Bullock’s family learned she was okay (other than some superficial cuts from flying glass) after seeing her on TV being interviewed by a news crew.
She later learned about McVeigh, Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier, just as the rest of the nation did. She would return to work the following Monday.
The event caused her to take a hard look at her own mortality.
“You certainly think about your mortality - and how everything could be over at any second,” Bullock said.