Lampley, vice president of administrative services at the hospital, raced out of his office to find nurses already moving some of the facility's 42 patients. Those who could get out of bed and into chairs were moved into the hallways. Others had their beds pushed either into the halls or as far from windows as possible.
Soon the hospital staff heard the sirens blaring in town. They didn't panic but continued preparing for the worst.
"Drills are not like the real thing," Lampley said, "but we played the game that was dealt to us by the weather."
As the storm roared into town, Lampley was helping a nurse hold open a door so she could push a patient in a chair through. A gust of wind hit and in an instant blew the nurse and patient back 20 feet, Lampley said.
The door he was holding slammed him against the wall and he watched as the ceiling tiles began moving like waves.
"I thought the building was gone," Lampley said. "Whenever I think about it now, it's almost like everything is in slow motion. Never have I experienced that type of a force."
The storm tore down walls and blew out windows in the hospital. Lampley quickly checked the damage and found only one patient had remained in a room that was damaged. He said he found that patient holding a ceiling tile that had fallen on his bed.
"It was a devastating experience to go through, but for no one in this facility to be injured at all was amazing," Lampley said. "God was good to us." However, a nurse on staff, Jaylynn Ferrell , 22, was killed when the tornado hit her home.
After the storm stopped, the staff — many wearing masks to fight the dusty air — started cleaning rooms and preparing for what they imagined would be a rush of injuries from the community.
Residents arrived with broken bones, head injuries, cuts and puncture wounds — and with them came other community members offering to help any way they could.
Although 43 people signed in to the hospital after the storm, Lampley said he believes 60 to 65 actually received care.
When hospital CEO Vince Ashley made it to Harrisburg Medical Center Wednesday morning, he saw a surgery wing in disarray, ceilings hanging, water damage. But the part of the hospital still intact was bustling.
"It's just depressing (in the dark wing), and then you walk to the other end of the building and it's hot. It's moving and it's bright and it's active," Ashley said. "I mean it couldn't be more different than night and day."
The patients housed in the hospital before the tornado struck were either moved to other facilities or discharged and sent home, Ashley said.
He expects some parts of the hospital to reopen Monday or Tuesday, though the most heavily damaged area could take a year to be rebuilt.
Tribune reporter Rex W. Huppke contributed from Chicago.