GARLAND - An American flag is planted at what remains of someone's home, one of more than 1,000 damaged or destroyed in Garland. It represents the resolve of the survivors, but the surrounding destruction is still a lot to take in for the folks who lived here.
A Garland neighborhood was ripped apart by an EF4 tornado that left eight people dead, all whom were in vehicles according to Garland police Chief Mitch Bates. “At this time, we now believe that all eight of those fatalities were from vehicles that were on the overpass at George Bush and the I-30 intersection,” Bates said.
On Monday, officials took NewsFix on a tour of restricted areas that were hardest hit to see the scope of the chaos left behind. Garland Mayor Douglas Athas is just grateful that it wasn’t worse, “There's been a lot of devastation, a lot of destruction. We`re working through this, we feel very blessed that there weren't more fatalities,” Athas said.
Residents like Eudora Barnes shared stories of what happened as the tornado ravaged through the neighborhood, “My dad was saying 'Just take the house but don`t take us, you can take the house just don`t take us,' so we prayed our way through,” Barnes said.
Garland resident Mohammed Farooq explained says he’s never seen or heard anything like it. “It sounded like a blast; we were sitting in the living room. We`ve been in Dallas for three years; we've seen a lot of rain, we've seen snow, we've seen different storms, but we never expected something like this to come through in our area," Farooq said.
But despite the destruction, there were still some diamonds found in the rough, literally, as detailed by Alan Maggart, whose home was totaled by the tornado. “Found my wife's diamond ring I just bought her for Christmas so I`m very happy about that,” Maggart said.
If you are a Garland resident in need or would like to volunteer to help you can register at garlandtx.recovers.org. There's a lot of lives that need re-building.