Rowlett family works on rebuilding damaged home

Tornado damage on Chimneywood Lane in Rowlett (KXAN Photo)
Tornado damage on Chimneywood Lane in Rowlett (KXAN Photo)

ROWLETT, Texas (KXAN) – Most hotels in the Garland area are filled with families displaced by tornadoes that ripped through North Texas Saturday night.

The Holiday Inn on President George Bush Turnpike is where Richard Garcia’s family has been sleeping. During the day, they return to their home in Rowlett on Barton Creek Drive near Lake Ray Hubbard. It is surrounded by destruction.

“C’mon we’ll go around the front,” said Garcia as he leads us up the driveway in the back. He is one of the lucky ones. Garcia’s to-do list is much shorter than most.

He will need a new fence, and debris is littered across his backyard. Someone’s patio furniture is at the bottom of his pool. “I’m going to dig it all out today,” said Garcia.

Most of his attention is on his neighbors. “These people here just moved in two weeks ago,” said Garcia pointing to a two-story home with boarded up windows. “This is my other neighbor,” said Garcia. “Matter of fact, they were at the hotel where [we] were at. He’s moved out.”

After 23 years on the same street everyone is like family. “He’s an ex-Dallas police officer, and she’s lived there for 20 years,” said Garcia pointing to another home where the second story was gone. “My kids grew up with her kids.”

The home next to it, also missing the second story, belongs to a family who survived Hurricane Katrina. “I feel so bad for them,” said Garcia. “They came from Louisiana and now they’ve gotta deal with this.”

Garcia walked us back to his house, and showed us the small bedroom closet where he, his wife, son, cousin-in-law and their dog, Chloe, took cover. “We could feel our ears pop when it came over us,” said Garcia. “It was right over us. You could hear stuff hitting the house — bam, bam, bam.”

They are making do without electricity or gas. It is a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things. “Praise Jesus because we were saved,” said Garcia.

It is a disaster sure to bring the neighborhood even closer together, and re-focus on what’s important. “Friends, neighbors and family.”

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