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Tornado Hits Forney

The Diamond Creek community in Forney was especially hard hit by yesterday’s tornado. Police say it damaged 73 homes, 23 severely. KERA’s Bill Zeeble visited one street where the twister took a big toll.

It’s 6:15 as the sun sets and birds sing. A helicopter hovers high above Woodberry, usually a well manicured street. But just hours ago, a twister tore through here. Sharon Mitchell saw it from her house. She says it bobbed up and down, up and down, then veered toward her two story brick home. She took her daughter and 3 grand children into the closet and prayed.

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Mitchell: To hear it, to see it. to not know if we were going to make it. All we could do was tell each other we loved each other and we all huddled in the closet. I was frightened. I’ve never seen anything like that, never in my life. This is horrible. I was praying and pleading to bloody Jesus, and binding every rebuke to Satan in the name of Jesus. It just touched us and went on.

Mitchell says the twister only slightly damaged the car in the driveway, and swept away the dog house. But Rocky, their Rottweiler, is fine.

Mitchell: We have a dog that’s tied up, it destroyed the fence and stuff around, but the dog was never touched, never ever touched. Just the fence, just the fence. With that much power and force that came here, God is good.

Mitchell doesn’t consider herself lucky, she considers herself blessed. Halfway down the street, so does Army Specialist Royal Thornton. His $180,000 house is now a pile of lumber except for part of the brick façade. A car sits relatively untouched in the garage. But there’s no garage anymore.

Royal Thornton: Every bedroom is trashed. The only thing that’s intact is the island in the kitchen. I Think it’s a total loss.

Thornton, his two young children, and pregnant wife were all with his mother in Dallas when the storm hit. He says God works in mysterious ways. He’s now cleaning up, reclaiming what he can. He says the family will stay with his mom as he prepares to ship out for Afghanistan on this Saturday, or maybe not.

Thornton: I’ve been in Iraq once. This would have been my 2nd tour, but it doesn’t look like I’m going.

Thornton figures the army might give him more time, under the circumstances. He studies the pile of splintered wood and broken bricks before him, and calls it the devil at work.

Forney officials say seven people were hurt and three needed to be transported. But no injuries were life threatening.

(Please note: videos may contain explicit language)


Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.