[Mayor Todd Gottel] Update (Dec. 28, 2015 at 11:00 PM)
posted over 3 years ago by RowlettEagle07 from Rowlett Community Relief and Family T.R.A.C.E.
A little over 48 hours ago Rowlett received a direct hit from an EF-4 tornado. The tornado ripped a path approximately ½ mile wide and about 4 miles in length. The strength and path of the tornado caused widespread damage.
Our first responders and CERT teams were out in neighborhoods assisting the injured, accounting for residents and assessing damage. We have gone out to each property three times looking for survivors. To date, we have 23 injured and no deaths from the storm. We did have numerous gas leaks and many electrical lines down.
To date, we have about 1000 homes impacted by the storm. Out of the 1000 homes, we have 150 homes completely destroyed, 200 homes with major non-repairable damage and many more with significant damage. Additionally, we have about 30+ businesses that received significant damage and many more with minor damage.
Atmos believes that all the gas leaks have been safely shut off at this time. Oncor is telling us that we still have about 2900 customers without power this evening. Oncor is working very diligently around the clock to get power restored. Much of their infrastructure has to be rebuilt. Before power can be restored to a home, Oncor must inspect each damaged home and make sure there is no electrical damage which could cause fire. This is a major task that is going to take some time to complete. Both Oncor and Atmos have teams of people working around the clock to complete their respective jobs. They are doing a great job!!
Today, CERT teams went out into the neighborhoods impacted by the storm (door to door) with an information sheet (key contact numbers, support locations, services information, etc.) and case of water for each home. They will be completing this task in the next day or so. For those that need shelter, we opened an emergency shelter at Steadham Elementary which is located at 6200 Danridge. The RedCross and Salvation Army are there as well. Many of the churches, First Baptist Church Rowlett, First United Methodist Church Rowlett, C3 Church, Cornerstone Church and First Christian Church have become donation centers to assist families impacted by the storm. First Christian Church is also serving meals to those impacted and workers assisting in the recovery efforts. They are currently serving about 800 a day. Please let anyone impacted know that help is available.
Pubic Works teams from all over have converged on Rowlett to help clean the streets of debris. We believe all roadways will be cleaned up by this weekend. Damaged cars are been photographed, GPS tagged and moved to Herfurth Park on Main Street. This is being done to help clear the streets and allow insurance and construction companies into the impacted areas. The curfew remains in effect until further notice. That means no one other than residents in or out of the impacted areas without a pass, especially at night. Safety and security is of the utmost importance.
The Martha Lane water tower was taken offline, drained and inspected for damage. This is a precautionary measure so engineers can inspect potential damage. Engineers will be completing their inspection in the next few days.
We have found several animals roaming around impacted areas. Animals, if found, can be brought to the Rowlett Animal Shelter for evaluation and shelter. We have trained groups that will be helping with search efforts as soon as the areas are declared safe. If you have lost a pet, please check the shelter. They are located on Industrial behind the Dairy Queen.
Today, I met with several large relief organizations to help those impacted by the storm. I spent the afternoon with Congressman Pete Sessions and State Representative Cindy Burkett. FEMA was also in Rowlett today to assess damage and will be deploying teams in the next few days. Many of our businesses are helping families as well. They have offered services and food to those impacted by the storm. We have received numerous requests for people wanting to volunteer. Once we have confirmed the details and areas are safe to enter, we will be posting information on how to get involved. Safety is critical before we can allow non-trained personnel into any areas. I wanted to thank our amazing city staff and to all of the emergency services personnel. We have many cities assisting Rowlett. A special thanks to our CERT Team as all of churches for their help. Please continue to keep Rowlett in your prayers and pray for those injured. Pray for our community as we recover. I think I am most amazed at the outpouring of affection and willingness to help. I also cannot believe the stories of survival.
Thank you for your patience. I appreciate all of the messages and apologize for not being as responsive as I usually am. I am a bit overwhelmed with calls, emails, texts and posts. I am doing my best to get back to each of you as soon as I can. Should you need immediate assistance, please contact our Action Center at 972-412-6100. If you see ANY suspicious activity, call 911 immediately!
We are so blessed with a great community and the most amazing citizens one could ask for. We truly are Rowlett Strong!
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